Tis the season for giving, but no one wants to give or receive the flu. This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and the Centers for Disease Control wants to remind American’s that it is not too late to vaccinate against the flu.
As of December 1, 2012 flu activity across the state of Washington remained low, but influenza-like illness visits and influenza laboratory detection’s increased. Flu activity doesn’t usually peak until February and can last as late as May, which is why it’s not too late to get your flu shot.
Influenza or Flu, is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes death. Officials at the CDC think the flu virus spreads by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk, and those droplets infect other people. A person could also become infected by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it, then they touch their eyes, mouth or nose.
Doctors recommend the best way to protect you and your family from getting the flu is to first get your flu vaccine. The CDC recommends everyone six months of age or older should be vaccinated each year. Other recommendations on how to combat against the flu virus is to cover your sneeze or cough with your arm or tissue – and wash your hands often with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Most importantly, stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading the flu to others.
To find out where you can receive your flu vaccine, click on the CDC’s handy HealthMap Vaccine Finder and type in your zip code. It’s always best to call ahead to ensure the pharmacy or doctor’s office has the vaccine in stock.
For more information about this year’s flu strains or for information on who should not receive the flu vaccine due to compromised health issues or age, please visit the CDC’s website.