Still time to get a flu shot
It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week and flu activity is on the rise in Louisiana.
Vaccination is the best protection against the flu and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) is recommending that everyone six months old or older should get a flu shot to stay healthy.
Seasonal flu vaccine is available from many sources, including your own doctor or health care provider. It is also available from retail outlets in or near your neighborhood.
Both injectable and nasal vaccines are now available. The nasal spray vaccine is only for healthy people aged 2-49 years. Your health care professional can help you determine which form of the vaccine is best for you.
Most vaccine recipients will receive their vaccine from a private provider; however, the DHH Office of Public Health will use a federal allotment to help ensure those with some high-risk conditions receive the vaccine at local parish health units.
The seasonal flu vaccine requires one dose for most people. Children between the ages of six months and nine years require two doses, separated by 28 days.
Although DHH’s encourages early flu shots, you can still get your seasonal flu shot in January and still be protected during flu season in Louisiana.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today: influenza B viruses, influenza A (H1N1) viruses, and influenza A (H3N2) viruses. Each year, one flu virus of each kind is used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine.
Here is a list of preventive actions you can take every day in order to help prevent the spread of flu:
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
• Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other measures to keep our distance from each other to lessen the spread of flu.
For more information about fighting the flu, visit http://new.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/subhome/8.
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