Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 5:11am
Flu Vaccine Will Protect You and Those around You
Another flu season is coming soon, and it is time to be prepared. The CDC calls the flu "unpredictable and severe" and the facts are dramatic. Between 5% and 20% of the population gets the flu each flu season generating over 200,000 hospitalizations from flu-related complications. Between 1976 and 2006, the number of flu-associated deaths per season ranged from 3000 to 49,000.
With symptoms like fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches along with headaches and fatigue, the illness is unpleasant, unproductive and dangerous to high risk groups. People with the flu can lose from 3 to 10 days of work, depending on the severity of the symptoms.
The good news is that there is an easy way to avoid all this - the flu vaccine. And this year you only need one vaccination, since the H1N1 strain, which caused so much illness last season, is one of three strains that is included in this year's seasonal flu vaccine.
The vaccine comes in two forms, a flu shot or nasal spray. The flu shot contains inactivated, or killed, viruses. The nasal spray contains live viruses that are weakened. Neither vaccine will cause influenza. Both types of vaccines have been in use for many years and have a solid track record for safety and effectiveness.
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu each year. This is particularly important for those at high risk of serious flu complications, including young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease. Getting vaccinated is also important for people 65 years and older, health care workers, and those who live with or care for high risk people.
Since children younger than 6 months are also at high risk and are too young to be vaccinated, their best protection against the flu is for those living with and caring for them to be vaccinated.
Flu vaccine is widely available from health care providers, clinics and numerous pharmacies throughout the county. Children from families without health insurance may get vaccinated at one of the regularly scheduled Public Health immunization clinics. For more information on vaccine availability, please call 211 or go to Public Health - Madison and Dane County Immunizations web page at
For more information on the flu check out the following link:
Public Health Madison & Dane County
- Jeff Golden, (608) 243-0302