Healthy Communities

By Jennifer McGohan

(Wampsville, NY – Jan. 2012) Anyone who has not already been vaccinated for flu is urged to get their annual shot to reduce their risk for flu. During the last few flu seasons, flu activity increased in January, peaked in late February or early March and continued into May.

This means it is not too late to get your flu shot! Immunity against the flu develops two weeks after vaccination, providing protection against the flu for the rest of the flu season and during spring vacation!

Each year, 30 to 40 percent of all children are infected with the flu, and those with chronic medical conditions like asthma are more likely to develop serious complications. In addition, children are often responsible for spreading the flu to family members and others in the community more than any other group.

Other populations at high risk of flu complications include:

* Pregnant women

* Adults 50 years of age or older

* People with certain chronic medical conditions

* People in nursing homes, assisted living or other long-term care facilities

* People who live with or care for those at high risk for flu complications

* Healthcare workers

“Don’t let a routine visit to a health care provider be a missed chance for a flu vaccination,” said Public Health Director Eric Faisst. “Now is not too late to get vaccinated and to protect yourself this flu season.”

Symptoms of influenza can include fever, chills, severe headache and muscle aches, as well as cough or sore throat. Symptoms of influenza may be similar to cold symptoms, but come on stronger and more quickly.

Although getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent getting sick with the flu, make sure to wash your hands regularly and disinfect surfaces like desktops and telephones. Eating healthy foods, getting enough rest and exercise can also help protect against the flu.

View the Health Department clinic schedule online and get more information about the flu at healthymadisoncounty.org.

Jennifer McGohan is Public Health Educator for the Madison County Department of Health. She can be reached at madnews@m3pmedia.com.

By martha

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