National Influenza Vaccination Week is celebrated from December 2 to December 8 and health officials are using it to encourage individuals to protect themselves and their communities by getting flu shots.
"The single best way to prevent the flu is by getting your annual flu vaccination, especially before the usual winter peak in flu activity (January through March)," Winnebago County Health Department Public Health Administrator Mike Bacon says. "If you haven't had your annual flu shot, it's not too late to get vaccinated. By being vaccinated, you can protect yourself from influenza and it will also help to avoid spreading it to others. Everyone six months of ago and older is recommended to get an annual flu vaccination."
This year's flu shot protects against the A H3N2 virus, the A H1N1 virus, and the influenza B virus. The viruses in the vaccination are dead, so it is not possible to get the flu from the shot, and it usually takes about two weeks for the shot to build up antibodies in your system.
Those who are at high risk of developing serious complications should they get the flu include kids younger than five, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and those with long-term medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, neurological and neurodevelopment conditions, blood disorders, morbid obesity, kidney and liver disorders, HIV, AIDS, or cancer.
The vaccine is available at the Winnebago County Health Department as well as local health care providers. To receive the shot at the health department, call 815-720-4264 to make an appointment.
For more information on influenza, visit www.wchd.org.
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