If you haven't received your flu vaccination yet, the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center encourages you to get one during National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), December 2-8. NIVW serves as a reminder that it is not too late to get a flu shot.
"The holidays are a great time to spread good cheer but they also are a time when people can unwittingly spread germs," said Irene Pierce, the Health Department's Executive Director. "We often see a spike in the number of children out of school due to flu related illnesses in January. It is important to protect yourself and your family against the flu by practicing flu preventive steps over the holiday and every day."
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The Health Department is encouraging residents to remember these important health recommendations:
• Get an annual flu vaccine.
• Stay away from people who are sick.
• Regularly wash your hands to reduce the spread of germs.
• Stay home from work or school if you are sick with the flu to prevent spreading influenza to others.
The Health Department offers flu and pneumonia vaccinations to the general public. The vaccine is available by appointment only at the Health Department's Immunizations Annex at 2303 Dodge Avenue in Waukegan. Please call (847) 377-8470 to make an appointment or for more information.
Public health officials recommend that everyone six months of age and older should be vaccinated against influenza, especially pregnant women, young children, people 65 years of age and older, and anyone with underlying health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or a weakened immune system.
A flu vaccine is needed every year because flu viruses are constantly changing. This year's flu vaccine includes the H1N1 virus used to make last year's vaccine. It also includes the H3N2 and Influenza B vaccine viruses, which are different from those used last year.
The Health Department is just one of several locations offering the flu vaccine this year as it is available at pharmacies and at other providers throughout Lake County. For more information, visit: www.lakecountyflu.com or contact the Health Department at: (847) 377-8470.
NIVW is a national observance established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination--as well as fostering greater use of the flu vaccine--after the holiday season into January and beyond.