State Health Officials Encourage Flu Shots Now to Protect Family and Friends at the Holidays
Vaccine Highly Effective Against This Year's Main Flu Strain
MADISON-With the holidays around the corner, and winter break about to start for schoolchildren and college students, state health officials today encouraged Wisconsin residents to give the gift of influenza protection by getting a flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone aged six months and older should be vaccinated.
"This year's vaccine is very effective against the 2009 A H1N1 flu strain, the main flu strain circulating now," said Dr. Henry Anderson, State Health Officer. "This strain especially affects young adult populations, so returning college students should get their flu shots right away." Anderson noted that the vaccine is also available as a nasal mist for healthy, non-pregnant people aged two through 49 years old.
Influenza is likely to be at or near peak levels over the holiday season in Wisconsin, making it especially important to get vaccinated now to prevent future cases, Anderson noted. There have already been 112 influenza-associated hospitalizations since October 5.
"Getting your flu shot or nasal mist and making sure children are vaccinated can help protect relatives and friends of all ages this holiday season, and will help protect children when they return to school in January."
To get your flu shot and flu shots for your family, contact your health care provider, pharmacy, local public health department or tribal health clinic, or go to www.flu.gov to find a flu vaccination center near you.
Health officials also suggest these important steps:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, and try to avoid touching your face with your hand. If you use a tissue, throw it away after one use.
- Use your own drinking cups and straws.
- Avoid being exposed to people who are sick with flu-like symptoms.
- Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and do not smoke.
- Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (e.g., door knobs, refrigerator handle, telephone, faucets).
- If you think you have the flu, stay home, get rest, drink plenty of liquids and avoid using alcohol and tobacco.
If your symptoms persist, contact your doctor.
For more information on influenza, visit: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/communicable/influenza/index.htm.