For Immediate Release
Kristi Pankratz, 785-296-5795
If you haven’t already received your flu vaccination, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announces that now is a great time to do so. December 5-11 is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and although flu activity in Kansas has been sporadic so far, flu activity is generally highest around February and circulates into spring.
“The flu can be unpredictable so it’s important to protect yourself now by getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, Kansas State Health Officer and Director of KDHE’s Division of Health. “The vaccine is safe and effective and we encourage anyone over the age of six months to get the vaccine. It will not only protect you, but your loved ones and your community.”
Flu is a serious disease that can lead to complications such as pneumonia and even death. 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.
Some people, such as pregnant women, are at particularly high risk for the negative complications from flu. When an expecting mother is vaccinated, protection occurs for both the mother and unborn child.”
“Unfortunately, influenza immunization rates among pregnant women have typically been low,” said Sue Bowden, Director of the Kansas Immunization Program. “Anyone caring for, or in contact with an infant less than six months of age should be vaccinated since these babies are too young to be vaccinated themselves and are more vulnerable to complications from influenza disease.”
Healthcare workers are also an important group who should be vaccinated in order to reduce their risk of spreading the flu virus to the people in their care who are often more vulnerable to severe or even life threatening complications from the disease.
The vaccine is effective for reducing the chances of getting sick and of spreading the flu. Additional ways to avoid spreading flu virus include covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands, and staying home when sick.
For information on receiving the flu vaccine, please contact your family physician or local health department. Visit www.kdheks.gov/flu/index.html for more information.
The flu ends with you!