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  • Influenza - This year immunization against influenza is recommended for everyone, ages 6 months and up.

    Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness/exhaustion, dry cough, sore throat, and runny nose or congestion, and muscle aces. Although the term “stomach flu” is used to describe vomiting, nauseam or diarrhea, those illnesses are distinctly different and caused by a completely different set of germs. Influenza is associated with about 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations every year in the United States. Even in mild-moderate cases, a person with influenza will be miserable and unable to function for 7-10 days.

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as vaccine is available. The virus changes each year, so unlike other vaccine preventable diseases, it is necessary to receive a new influenza vaccine each year. People at high risk for complications include:

  • Children aged 6 months to 18 years of age,
  • Pregnant women,
  • People 50 years of age and older, and
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions;
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.

People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu (see above), household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age, and health care workers should also be vaccinated.
The 2011-2012 flu vaccine will protect against three different flu viruses: an H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus that caused so much illness the last few seasons.

In addition, practicing good health habits such as hand washing and covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing may also prevent the spread of influenza.

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