It’s never too late to think prevention. There is still time to take steps to reduce your risk of getting influenza, more commonly known as the flu. Each year the flu is responsible for thousands of deaths in the U.S. alone. The flu can be especially dangerous for the elderly, young children and those with certain health conditions.
Flu season in the U.S. usually peaks in January and February and flu activity can continue through May, so getting a flu shot now is still beneficial. National Flu Vaccination Week is December 8 – 13, an effort aimed at highlighting the importance of flu vaccination.
JPS Health Network counts getting a flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. JPS patients can schedule a flu vaccine with their JPS health center. Click here for a list of locations and phone numbers. In addition, school-aged children and their siblings aged newborn to 22 years can schedule a flu vaccine at the School-Based Health Center in the district where they attend school.
Did you know?
- Annual flu vaccinations are recommended for people age six months and older.
- It is especially important for people who are at high risk of serious flu complications to be vaccinated, especially young children, pregnant women, those with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people age 65 and older.
- A nasal spray version of the vaccine is approved for those ages two to 49 who do not have an underlying health condition.
Another way to help prevent the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses is practicing good germ-fighting habits. The tips listed below from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention go a long way toward keeping illness at bay.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze or use your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Wash your hands often. How long? A good estimate is singing the Happy Birthday song in your head, singing it once for children and twice for adults. Wash with soap and water. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
- If you get sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
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