Take Action to Prevent the Flu: Learn More about Influenza (Flu). Click here to access the CDC Influenza page.
Now is the time to get flu vaccine.
The single best way to prevent influenza is to get vaccinated every year.
The Health Department has vaccine available for everyone 6 months of age and older. We do have a supply of High Dose vaccine for senior citizens aged 65+. Children can get vaccine through their physician’s office or the Health Department’s Vaccines for Children program.
Call the Health Department’s clinical services at 269-740-4155 to discuss your options or schedule an appointment.
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza disease.
- CDC and its partners want to remind you that even though the holiday season has arrived, it is not too late to get your flu vaccine.
- As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination can provide protection against the flu and should continue.
- Even if you haven’t yet been vaccinated and have already gotten sick with one flu virus, you can still benefit from vaccination since the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses (depending on which flu vaccine you get).
- It is important for people who are at high risk for developing flu-related complications to be vaccinated.
- People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people aged 65 years and older.
- For people at high risk, getting the flu can mean developing serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, or a worsening of existing health conditions, which can lead to hospitalization or death.
- A full list of “People at High Risk of Developing Flu–Related Complications (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm)” is available.
The flu vaccine is the best tool available to protect against this potentially serious disease.
Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
Despite the unpredictable nature of the flu, you should know:
- You need the 2017-2018 flu vaccine for optimal protection against the flu this season
- Yearly vaccination is needed because:
- Flu viruses are always changing, and the vaccine is updated each year to better match circulating influenza viruses, and
- Immune protection from vaccination declines over time so vaccination is recommended every season for the best protection against the flu.
- It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to build the antibodies your body needs in order to provide protection against the flu.
- There has been little flu activity so far this season.
- In the United States, flu activity is usually highest between December and February and can last as late as May.
- Now is a good time to get vaccinated, but CDC recommends that vaccination efforts continue all season long, as long as flu viruses are circulating.
- With family and friends gathering for the holidays, now is a great time to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones.
- This is a reminder to parents and caregivers of children about the importance of flu vaccination in general and the fact that some children may need two doses of flu vaccine this season to be fully protected.
- Children 6 months through 8 years old who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of flu vaccine.
- Some children in this age group who have received influenza vaccine previously also will need two doses of vaccine this season to be fully protected.
- Your child’s doctor or the health department can tell you if your child needs two doses.
- There are many choices available for flu vaccine, both in terms of where to get vaccinated and what vaccine to get.
- Flu vaccines made to protect against three different flu viruses (called “trivalent” vaccines) are available this season. In addition, flu vaccines made to protect against four different flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines) also are available.
- Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, retail stores and pharmacies, and health centers, as well as by many employers and schools.
- The most important thing is for everyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year, regardless of the vaccine option chosen. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for you, talk to your doctor or other health care professional.
- Millions of doses of influenza vaccine have been administered to people safely for decades.
- Once vaccinated, you can enjoy this holiday season knowing that you have taken the single best step to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu.
Take everyday preventative actions.
These steps can help prevent influenza and other illnesses:
- Avoid close contact
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.
- Cover your mouth and nose
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then put your used tissue in a wastebasket. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
- Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing.
- Clean your hands
- Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
- Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Keep alcohol-based hand cleaner in your bag and car, when soap and water is not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick
- If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Practice healthy habits
- Get regular exercise, enough rest, and eat healthy balanced meals.