Health officials encourage flu shotsWith the holidays around the corner, and winter break about to start for schoolchildren, state health officials are encouraging Wisconsin residents to give the gift of influenza protection by getting a flu shot.
With the holidays around the corner, and winter break about to start for schoolchildren, state health officials are encouraging Wisconsin residents to give the gift of influenza protection by getting a flu shot.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone aged 6 months and older should be vaccinated.
“The most effective way to prevent influenza is by getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Henry Anderson, state health officer. “Getting your flu shot and making sure children are vaccinated can help protect relatives and friends of all ages, and will help protect children when they return to school in January.”
Laboratory confirmed influenza cases have been reported statewide, with influenza A and B strains circulating.
All age groups are affected. So far this season, 14 percent of those hospitalized with influenza were under age 18; 18 percent were aged 18 to 49; 22 percent were aged 50 to 64; and 46 percent were aged 65 and older.
Anderson noted that influenza has not yet peaked in Wisconsin, making it especially important to get vaccinated to prevent future cases. To get your flu shot and flu shots for your family, contact your health care provider, pharmacy, local public health department or tribal health clinic, or go to www.flu.gov to find a flu vaccination center near you.
Health officials also suggest these important steps:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, and try to avoid touching your face with your hand. If you use a tissue, throw it away after one use.
• Use your own drinking cups and straws.
• Avoid being exposed to people who are sick with flu-like symptoms.
• Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and do not smoke.
• Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (e.g., door knobs, refrigerator handle, telephone, faucets).
• If you think you have the flu, stay home, get rest, drink plenty of liquids and avoid using alcohol and tobacco. If your symptoms persist, contact your doctor.
For more information on influenza, visit http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/commu nicable/influenza/index.htm.