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Health officials encourage flu shots

December 12, 2014

“Influenza Vaccination Awareness Week” is Dec. 7-13, so health officials remind Wisconsin residents that getting a flu shot remains one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family against getting the flu and potential complications.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone aged six months and older should be vaccinated annually.

Influenza levels are rising, with some 192 influenza-associated hospitalizations, including children, adolescents and adults, already reported in Wisconsin so far this influenza season. Of those hospitalized with influenza, 63 percent were aged 65 and older.

Influenza can range from mild to severe, and in some cases can cause life-threatening complications. Symptoms can come on quickly and include fever, headache, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches and tiredness. If someone does get the flu after getting vaccinated, it is more likely to be a milder case.

To get your flu vaccine and vaccine for your family, contact your health care provider, pharmacy, local public health department or tribal health clinic, or go to www.flu.gov to find a flu vaccination center near you.

Health officials also suggest these important steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, and try to avoid touching your face with your hand. If you use a tissue, throw it away after one use.
  • Use your own drinking cups and straws.
  • Avoid being exposed to people who are sick with flu-like symptoms.
  • Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and do not smoke.
  • Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, refrigerator handle, telephone, faucets).

If you think you have the flu, call your doctor. Stay home, rest, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco.

For more information, visit http://www. dhs.wisconsin.gov/communicable/influenza/.