"The flu vaccine is the best protection against influenza, a
potentially serious disease," said Dr. Hasbrouck. "Flu vaccination
can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, missed work due to flu,
as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. Flu
activity usually peaks around January or later, so it's not too late
to get vaccinated."
It is important to get a flu shot each year, as flu viruses are
constantly changing and new vaccine is made each year to target the
Flu symptoms can 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. People with flu symptoms should stay home 24
hours after the fever is gone (without the use of a fever-reducing
Anti-viral drugs can make flu milder, shorten the length of
illness and may prevent serious complications. Complications of the
flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus
infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions.
Pregnant women, young children, people 65 years and older, and
anyone with underlying health conditions like asthma, diabetes or a
weakened immune system are at greater risk of complications from
One of the biggest myths about the flu is 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
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.
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Vaccination is important for health care workers and others who
live with or care for high-risk people, to keep from spreading flu
to 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 are available in many doctor's
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
Currently the state health department is seeing sporadic flu
activity in Illinois.
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.
More information about influenza is available at
Providing health guidance and information to the public aligns
the Illinois Department of Public Health with its strategic plan to
become the state's trusted public health authority, a place where
Illinoisans can turn for health information and education. For a
copy of the department's strategic plan, visit
Illinois Department of Public
Health file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]