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[October 20, 2008]
CHICAGO -- With flu season
quickly approaching, Illinois Department of Public Health Director
Damon T. Arnold is reminding Illinoisans to take precautions to help
prevent influenza and stay healthy.
The Illinois Department of Public Health, local health departments,
doctors' offices and clinics in Illinois are currently receiving
this year's influenza vaccine from manufacturers. Influenza vaccine
manufacturers report they expect to produce a record supply of
vaccine this year, between 143 million and 146 million doses, making
it possible for more people than ever to seek protection from the
Along with the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, the state of Illinois is now
recommending that children age 6 months through age 18 should
receive a flu shot.
"Taking the right steps this fall will mean less chance of
becoming ill when flu season is upon us. It is important for our
most vulnerable citizens -- the young, the elderly and those with
compromised immune systems -- to get a flu shot this fall. It is
also important for people who live with or care for individuals at
high risk for serious complications from flu to get immunized," said
"In an effort to keep Illinois healthy, we are working with local
health departments to continue educating people about the importance
of getting flu shots. Now until mid-November is the best time to get
a flu shot, but immunization beyond that point is also encouraged.
Start checking with your doctor or local health department about
upcoming flu vaccination clinics and availability."
Influenza, commonly called "the flu," is an infection of the
respiratory tract caused by the influenza virus. Compared with most
viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, influenza
infection often causes a more severe illness. Typical influenza
illness includes fever (usually 100 to 103 degrees F in adults and
often even higher in children) and respiratory symptoms, such as
cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, as well as headache,
muscle aches, and extreme fatigue.
Most people who get the flu recover completely in a week or two,
but some people develop serious and potentially life-threatening
medical complications, such as pneumonia.
Flu-related complications can occur at any age, but the elderly
and people with chronic health problems are much more likely to
develop serious complications after influenza infection than are
young, healthier people.
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To reduce the risk of getting the flu, it is important to take
precautions and practice good hygiene. Make sure to avoid close
contact with people who are sick; stay home when you are sick; cover
your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; wash your hands and
avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; and get plenty of sleep,
be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and
eat nutritious food.
Anyone who wants to reduce his or
her risk of getting influenza should get an annual flu shot.
Vaccination is particularly important, though, for certain people at
risk of complications from influenza or those who live with or care
for people at high risk for serious complications, including the
Children 6 months
through 18 years of age
People 50 years of
age and older
People of any age
with certain chronic medical conditions
People who live in
nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
People who live with or care for those
at high risk for complications from flu, including health care
workers, household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of
children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young
to be vaccinated)
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu
vaccination each fall.
Department of Public Health
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]