How to avoid the flu
Influenza Vaccination Week
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[December 03, 2012]
SPRINGFIELD -- To help stay
healthy during the holidays and into next year, give the gift of
health by getting a flu shot to not only protect you, but others as
well. National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 2-8, is a national
observance established to highlight the importance of flu
vaccinations and encourage more people to be vaccinated after the
holiday season, into January and beyond.
"Getting vaccinated is the single best way for you to protect not
only yourself against flu, but your loved ones as well," said Dr.
LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Illinois Department of Public
Health. "The flu season typically runs from October to May, with the
peak around January. We recommend everyone 6 months and older get
vaccinated. So get vaccinated today before all the holiday parties
and family gatherings."
Much of the U.S. population is at increased risk from serious flu
complications, either because of their age or because they have a
medical condition like asthma, diabetes, heart conditions or because
they are pregnant. For example, more than 30 percent of people ages
50 through 64 years have one or more chronic medical conditions that
put them at increased risk of serious complications from flu,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Similarly, all children younger than 5 years, especially children
younger than 2 years, and all adults 65 years and older are at
increased risk of serious flu-related complications. But even
healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu.
One of the biggest myths about the flu is that a person gets the
flu from a flu shot. The influenza vaccine cannot give you the flu.
Why? Because the flu shot contains killed viruses, and the nasal
spray form has weakened viruses that cannot cause illness. If you
get flu-like symptoms soon after being vaccinated, it can mean you
were exposed to the flu before getting vaccinated or during the
two-week period it takes the body to build up protection after
vaccination. It might also mean you are sick with another illness
that causes symptoms similar to the flu.
Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or
stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people
may have vomiting and diarrhea, but it is not typically associated
with respiratory flu.
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If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24
hours after your fever is gone (without the use of a fever-reducing
medicine). You can also go to a doctor for antiviral drugs, which
can make illness milder, shorten the time you are sick and may
prevent serious complications.
To keep from spreading flu to high-risk people, vaccination is
important for health care workers and others who live with or care
for high-risk people. For example, children younger than 6 months
are at high risk of serious flu illness but are too young to be
Flu shots and the nasal spray vaccine are available in many
doctors' offices, local health departments, health clinics,
pharmacies and other health care providers. For additional
information about flu vaccinations and availability in your area,
contact your local health department.
Currently state health officials are seeing local flu activity in
To reduce the spread of flu, it is
also important to practice the three C's:
Properly wash your hands frequently.
Cover -- Cover
your cough and sneeze.
Contain -- Contain your germs by
staying home if you are sick
For more information, visit
Department of Public Health file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]