The Kane County Health Department is encouraging residents to get a flu shot during National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 3-9.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu vaccination activity drops off quickly after the end of November. In other words, people stop getting the flu shot right at the time the CDC says typically is the start of the peak flu season.
This week is a national observance established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination. The health department wants to encourage more people to be vaccinated during the holiday season and into the new year.
In addition to getting a flu shot, you can also reduce your risk by:
• Washing your hands regularly with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Practicing good cough etiquette, such as coughing into your elbow instead of your hands.
• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth; germs are spread this way. Avoiding close contact with sick people. If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
To learn more, visit www.kanehealth.com/flu.htm.
The CDC recommends 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.
The vaccine is available at many locations, including neighborhood pharmacies and your primary care provider. A convenient "vaccine finder" can be found at kanehealth.com/flu_shots.htm.
People with the flu can spread it to others as far as 6 feet away. Flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has a flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
Some people are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu. This includes older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and persons who live in facilities like nursing homes. Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
Flu shots are offered by the health department at the Aurora office, 1240 N. Highland Ave., during clinic hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, while vaccine supply lasts. Cost is $23.87, payable by check or cash. Call (630) 208-3801 for more information.