The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) urges anyone who has not yet received a flu shot to get one as soon as possible. December 4-10, 2016 is National Influenza Vaccination Week, a national observance to highlight the importance of influenza vaccination. While many people typically get the flu vaccine in early fall, flu activity usually peaks between December and March, a time when people are with families and out in their communities.
“During the holidays, friends and families often come together to celebrate,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “Although you may be in good health, people around you, like young children and grandparents, may be at higher risk of suffering serious complications from the flu. A flu vaccine is the best defense against getting the flu. If you don’t get the vaccine to protect yourself, do it to protect the loved ones around you.”
Every year, the flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of deaths. Even healthy people can get sick from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to the flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
Due to concerns about how well the nasal spray vaccine has worked during the previous flu season, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is temporarily recommending that people stick to getting a flu shot and skip the nasal spray.
In addition to getting a flu shot, IDPH recommends following the 3 C’s: clean, cover, and contain.
- Clean – frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water.
- Cover – cover your cough and sneeze.
- Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.