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Health Department Encourages Communities to Protect Themselves Against the Flu

Author: Jacquelyn Langdon/Thursday, September 21, 2017/Categories: Health

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It’s fall, and flu season is here again.  The flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs.  Flu can cause severe illness, hospitalization and death.  Anyone can get the flu, and serious problems can occur at any age.  However, some people are at higher risk for flu complications.  This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic conditions (diabetes, asthma or heart disease), pregnant women and young children.  Flu vaccine can prevent serious illness and hospitalization.


To protect yourself from getting the flu, the CDC recommends everyone six months of age and older get the flu shot every year. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body. “Communities are encouraged to get the flu shot early in the fall, before the disease begins to spread,” said Daniel Stapleton, Public Health Director.  In addition to getting an early flu vaccine, everyday preventive actions should be taken to stop the spread of germs. “Avoiding close contact with sick people, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and washing your hands often with soap and water are all easy, protective actions we can each take,” he added.


While individuals should be vaccinated early in the season, getting vaccinated later while the flu viruses are circulating can still be beneficial.  Parents and caregivers are reminded that children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits and missed work/school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.


Flu vaccines are available at many doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even some schools.  If you would like to schedule an appointment at the Niagara County Department of Health’s Immunization Clinic, call (716) 278-1903. For more information on the flu, visit


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