Date of Release: For Further Information Please Call:
December 5, 2011 Kathy Mogle, MS Program Coordinator
National Influenza Awareness Week is Being Observed December 4th – 10th!
The Onondaga County Health Department encourages anyone who has not yet received a flu vaccine to get one. Did you know that while the flu can make anyone sick, people with long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes (type 1 and 2) and heart disease are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu? Serious flu complications can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. The good news is that you can take a simple step to protect yourself and your family from the flu by getting the flu vaccine each year. The Onondaga County Health Department has flu vaccine available. For more information on where to get a flu vaccine call the Health Department at 435-2000.
It is important to know that flu vaccines (both the shot and the nasal spray) have excellent safety records and are constantly being monitored. The most common side effects reported after flu vaccination are minor and are outweighed by the vaccine’s benefits. Millions of flu vaccines have been given safely over the years and vaccine safety remains a priority every year.
The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. Why? Because the flu shot contains killed viruses and the nasal spray has weakened viruses that cannot cause illness. If you get flu-like symptoms soon after getting vaccinated, it can mean you may have been exposed to the flu before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period it takes the body to gain protection after vaccination. It might also mean you are sick with another illness that causes symptoms similar to the flu.
Some people may think that because they received the flu vaccine last season, they don’t need another one this year. Even though the vaccine composition is still the same this year, everyone needs to get vaccinated with this season’s vaccine because immunity from last season’s vaccine will have declined.
The flu can be especially serious for babies, children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with certain long-term medical conditions. Also, African Americans (who disproportionally suffer from chronic illnesses) are at increased risk of flu complications when they also have a chronic illness. Unfortunately many African Americans are not getting an annual flu vaccine, leaving them at greater risk for flu and its complications. In New York State, only approximately 42% of eligible African Americans receive an annual flu vaccine.
If you have not had your flu vaccine yet, it is not too late… Get your vaccine during National Influenza Awareness Week.