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Health Department Urges It Is Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot

Author: Jacquelyn Langdon/Wednesday, November 28, 2018/Categories: Health

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Flu season is upon us once again. It’s time to protect yourself and your family from the flu. This year, National Influenza Vaccination Week is 12/2/18 to 12/8/18. Flu activity will be increasing over the next few months, so now is the time to get a flu vaccine if you have not been vaccinated yet. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that flu vaccination efforts continue throughout the flu season. Flu season can peak between December and March but flu activity can occur at any time before the peak times. Even if you haven’t been vaccinated yet and have already gotten sick with the flu, you can still benefit from the flu vaccine since it protects against four different flu viruses. “To prevent flu, individuals should get their flu shot every year and practice routine hand washing,” stated Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton.

Flu symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, and fatigue. It is a contagious illness that can spread quickly from one person to another. It spreads from person to person when someone with the flu coughs or sneezes. People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and people 65 years and older. You can also get the flu if you touch an object or surface with flu virus on it and then touch your mouth or nose. Flu can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. Since children younger than 6 months cannot get the flu vaccine it’s important that their family and caregivers are vaccinated from the flu. There were unprecedentedly high 183 pediatric deaths in the U.S. during the 2017-2018 flu season and 80% of those children had not received the flu vaccine. Many adults were also ill, hospitalized and died due to flu complications last year.

The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older get a flu vaccine. The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. It stimulates your body to produce antibodies that protect you from the flu viruses. Once you get the flu vaccine, it takes about two weeks for it to be fully effective. Until then, you are still at risk for getting the flu. If this is the first time a child 6 months through 8 years of age is getting the flu vaccine they will require two doses of the vaccine 28 days apart.

Don’t let the flu sneak up on you! Call your physician to schedule an appointment to get the flu vaccine or visit your local pharmacy. Stay healthy and get a flu shot today!

If you have additional questions or concerns regarding the flu or flu vaccines, call Beverly Lawler, Public Health Nurse at (716) 278-1903.

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