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updated: 10/1/2012 11:55 AM

Beat the bug -- get a flu shot now

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David Hass

DUPAGE COUNTY--With influenza season just around the corner, the DuPage County Health Department reminds all County residents--six months and older--to get a seasonal flu shot this year. Flu vaccine is readily available at physician offices, pharmacies, grocery stores, quick care clinics and other locations throughout DuPage County.

The Health Department only offers flu shots to eligible children who qualify under the state's Vaccine For Children guidelines. Flu shots are available to children who have no insurance, have insurance that does not cover immunizations or are recipients of Medicaid and All Kids Health Insurance.

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Every flu season is different and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Flu deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people each year. During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of flu-related deaths occur in people 65 years and older.

There are some people who cannot be vaccinated, such as babies younger than six months and those who are allergic to the vaccine. It is important for people who can be vaccinated, to do so, to protect vulnerable populations who could become seriously ill. People who are at high risk of developing serious complications if they get sick with the flu include people 65 years and older, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and chronic lung disease.

This year's flu vaccine is made in the same way as past flu vaccines and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an average of 100 million doses of influenza vaccine has been used in the United States each year and the vaccine has an excellent safety record.

It is not too early to get your flu shot. You can be vaccinated right now and be protected throughout the entire flu season. The season typically runs from October through May with seasonal flu activity usually peaking in January, February or later. It takes about two weeks after receiving the vaccine for antibodies to build up in the body, so it is important to get the vaccine before you start seeing flu activity.

To reduce the spread of influenza and other contagious diseases, it is always important to practice the following:
Clean --properly wash hands frequently
Cover --cover your cough and sneeze
Contain --contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.

For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook. Flu information is available by calling the Health Department at (630)682-7400 or visiting the DCHD website at www.dupagehealth.org.


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