Flu Shot Protects Against Unwanted Holiday Gifts

Wednesday, November 21st 2007, 10:25 am
By: News On 6

If you haven’t had your flu shot yet – get it done now. The holidays are a prime time for influenza to spread across the country as people travel to visit relatives and friends. It only takes a cough or a sneeze to share the unwanted gift of influenza. National Influenza Vaccination Week is November 26 to December 2, and the Oklahoma State Department of Health urges all Oklahomans to get vaccinated.

“With influenza activity beginning to circulate in the state, now is the best time to get vaccinated,” said Secretary of Health and State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher. “More vaccine is available this year than ever before. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and others around you from getting the flu.”

Health officials also stress to parents the importance of protecting their children against seasonal flu. Tuesday, November 27, will be recognized nationally as Children’s Flu Vaccination Day. Each year, more than 20,000 children under the age of five are hospitalized as a result of influenza. Observance of this day will help raise awareness about the value of vaccinating children, especially high-risk children and their close contacts, against the flu.

“Having your children vaccinated is one of the best first-line defenses for protecting your family from the flu. Children typically have higher infection rates of influenza than the adult population in general,” Crutcher said.

Children under six months of age can get very sick from the flu, but they are too young to get the vaccine. The best way to protect them is to make sure that every member of their household and all of their caregivers are vaccinated to avoid passing on the flu.

People who don’t get a flu vaccination place themselves at risk for influenza, which can be a long and serious illness, and if they do get the flu, they can easily spread it to their close contacts, who may be at high risk for flu complications and death.

Persons interested in getting a flu shot should contact their doctor’s office or the County Health Department in their area, or type “Flu Vaccine Locator” in an Internet search engine to find the nearest clinic. The Visiting Nurses Association will hold special weekend clinics to help vaccinate students and others over the holidays.