For Immediate Release
Contact: Mike Heideman
With the holidays fast approaching, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is reminding Kansans that it isn’t too late to get a flu shot. A clinic for state employees at the Statehouse Rotunda vaccinated more than 3,000 state employees on Thursday and Friday. A similar clinic in Lawrence vaccinated 200 employees in its first hour of operation on Friday.
“The yearly flu shot can still protect you even if you get it in December or later, since flu season generally peaks in late January in Kansas,” said Dr. Gail Hansen, State Epidemiologist. “The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each fall. It takes at least two weeks to build immunity after getting your shot.”
Six other state employee clinics were held across the state during the first half of November. A total of between 4,500 and 5,000 employees were vaccinated at all of the clinics combined – clinic staff were still compiling the exact total late Friday. The f lu shots were provided by KDHE in cooperation with HealthQuest and the Kansas Health Policy Authority.
The shot is effective for reducing the chances of getting sick and of spreading the flu. Other ways to avoid spreading flu virus include covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands, and staying home when sick.
In general, anyone can get vaccinated against seasonal flu. KDHE and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) especially recommend that the following groups receive a flu shot each year:
Certain groups of people should not be vaccinated:
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. Symptoms of the flu include: fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, and muscle aches. Complications can include pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of other chronic conditions.
Seasonal flu and its complications claim about 1,000 lives each year in Kansas.
Persons who contract the flu should get plenty of rest, drink a lot of water, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco. Take a non-aspirin pain reliever to help reduce fever. Over-the-counter products may be effective to alleviate cough and body aches. Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to help treat the flu. Antiviral treatment should be taken exactly as prescribed.
Kansas participates in a sentinel surveillance program with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) every flu season to monitor the level of flu activity in Kansas. As of November 3, the state had not reported any flu activity to CDC. Missouri and Nebraska have also not reported any flu activity yet this year; Colorado and Oklahoma reported sporadic flu activity.
For more information about flu, please visit www.kdheks.gov/flu/ or www.cdc.gov/flu/.