It's not too late to get a flu shot.
With flu activity increasing and family and friends gathering for the holidays, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment urges all Kansans to receive an annual flu vaccination to protect themselves and their loved ones.
“National Influenza Vaccination Week" (Dec. 2-8) serves as a reminder that all of us have a responsibility to prevent the spread of influenza. Influenza activity usually peaks in February and can last as late as May. Through a sentinel surveillance network, KDHE has identified two different types of influenza viruses currently circulating, and influenza activity is increasing within the state.
On average, each year:
• 5 to 30 percent of the U.S. population will get the flu.
• 200,000 people will be hospitalized with flu complications.
• 36,000 will die from complications caused by influenza, including 1,300 Kansans.
“Flu season is here and before it becomes widespread, take the opportunity to get your vaccine now. Getting a flu vaccination is also a great way to protect those who are at high risk.”
— Dr. Robert Moser, KDHE secretary and state health officer
In addition to getting vaccinated, avoid spreading the flu virus by covering coughs and sneezes, washing your hands and staying home when you are sick.
Symptoms of the flu include: fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough and muscle aches. Complications can include pneumonia, ear and sinus infections and dehydration; the flu might also worsen other chronic conditions.
Nearly all persons six months and older are recommended to receive a flu vaccine. Anyone caring for, or in regular contact with, an infant less than six months of age should also be immunized. Babies this age are too young to be vaccinated and are more vulnerable to the complications from influenza disease, as are pregnant women, people with asthma, heart disease, and diabetes along with adults over the age of 65.
In Douglas County, only about half of the population reported getting a flu shot in 2010. For information on receiving the flu vaccine, please contact your health care provider or the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department at 843-0721.