The Nursing Division of the Millburn Health Department would like to remind our residents that it’s not too late to get your annual flu vaccine! National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) 2016 will be observed December 4-10. Influenza (Flu) is a very contagious disease that spreads around the United States every winter with outbreaks typically peaking in January and February. The flu is cause by varying influenza viruses that can be spread via coughing, sneezing and close contact with those who are infected. Everyone is at risk of getting the flu. Those who are at the highest risk of contracting the flu are children, pregnant women, the elderly and anyone with a compromised immune system and/or chronic health condition(s).
Symptoms of the flu include fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, coughing, sneezing, headache and a runny or stuffy nose. The flu can also lead to more serious complications like pneumonia. Each year over 200,000 thousand people are hospitalized for the flu and approximately 40,000 people die annually from complications associated with the flu. Flu viruses are always changing. It takes about 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine for one to develop immunity (protection) against these circulating viruses. The flu shot is typically good for several months to a year.
The Flu vaccine does not give you the flu as it is made up of different viruses that are “dead”. “Dead” viruses cannot infect you with flu. Although, some illnesses that are not caused by the influenza virus can mimic flu like symptoms and can be mistaken for flu. Remember the flu vaccine will not prevent these types of illnesses and can only prevent influenza (flu) infection. Only receive the flu shot when in good health, unless otherwise advised by you primary care physician.
The flu shot is the safest and most cost effective way to keep your family and you safe from the flu this season. It can prevent absences from school and work, along with potentially avoiding other serious health complications. Everyone 6 months and older should be vaccinated (get the flu shot). The best prevention for the flu is vaccination and good health hygiene. Washing your hands often, eating a balance diet, getting plenty of sleep and changing your toothbrush routinely (especially as you’re getting better and when you are fully recovered from illness) can help prevent the spread of the flu virus.
If you should come down with the flu, stay at home and call your doctor. If caught early enough you maybe prescribed (by your doctor) an anti-viral medication that can shorten the duration of your flu infection and speed up your recovery time. The Nursing Division of the Millburn Health Department wishes you a happy and healthy flu season!
Information and statistics above obtained from the CDC and provided by the Millburn Nursing Division. For further reading, or additional information visit www.cdc.gov/flu.