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Health Department Stresses Importance Of Flu Shots

It is not too late to get your flu shot. Flu vaccination is always the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications.

Flu season is in full swing right now and the predominant strain circulating at the moment is hitting babies and young children especially hard.

Everyone six months of age and older is encouraged to get a flu shot. It takes 10 to 14 days from vaccination to optimal protection.

“Protect yourself and your family and get vaccinated,” said Karla Thompson, RN, BSN, Public Health Nurse at Roosevelt County Health Department.

Vaccine is available at the Roosevelt County Health Department. Call 653-6223 for any questions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that so far this season there have been at least 9.7 million flu illnesses, 87,000 hospitalizations and 4,800 deaths from flu.

The overall hospitalization rate for the season increased to 14.6 per 100,000. This is similar to what has been seen at this time during recent seasons, according to the CDC.

Five new influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2019-2020 season were reported this week, according to the CDC. The total for the season is 32.

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications. There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus: Types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year. In addition to getting the flu shot, people should take the same everyday preventive actions to prevent the spread of flu, including covering coughs, washing hands often, and avoiding people who are sick. Antiviral drugs are an important second line of defense to treat the flu. These drugs are not a substitute for vaccination and must be prescribed by a health care provider.

Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.

If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider (doctor, physician assistant, etc.).

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