December 1, 2011
Not Too Late to Benefit from Flu Vaccine
Many people at high risk still unprotected
In observance of National Influenza Week -- December 4 through December 10, 2011-- the Suffolk County Department of Health Services is urging all who have not yet received their annual flu vaccinations to do so as soon as possible. Flu season usually peaks in January or later and can last as
late as May.
Dr. James Tomarken, Commissioner of Suffolk County Department of Health Services, said, “Influenza is a serious disease that should be treated as such. While most people will recover from the flu with no complications, some are at greater risk for serious complications that can lead to hospitalization or even death. The good news is that immunization can protect us from the flu.”
Individuals who are particularly vulnerable are mature adults, young children, pregnant women, those with diabetes, heart disease, neurological conditions, or chronic lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and those who are severely obese persons.
Influenza can affect people differently. Some have very mild courses while others can get very sick. Influenza can spread to family members and friends so people infected need to reduce their exposure to healthy people.”
The first and most important step in protecting against influenza is to get a flu vaccine each flu season. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that children six months of age and older should be immunized against influenza. Children under age nine may need to return for a second dose of immunization.
The flu vaccine is changed yearly based on the viruses identified, how they spread and the effectiveness of the current vaccine in protecting against new viruses. It takes two weeks after the vaccination for a person’s body to build immunity for protection against influenza.
“Flu viruses are constantly changing and each flu season produces different flu viruses,” said Dr. Dennis Russo, Director of Public Health Emergency Preparedness. “People who were vaccinated last season should be vaccinated again to boost their protection.”
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctors’ offices, clinics, the department’s health centers, pharmacies, college health centers and places of business.
Contact your health care provider today for your flu vaccine. Getting a flu vaccine could save your life or the life of someone you love. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov. For flu-related questions contact FluInbox@cdc.gov.