Health department reminds residents to get flu shots

71 per cent fall in number of flu cases

Kaiser Permanente reported 10 percent of influenza samples tested positive last week for the flu. People who have not had their influenza vaccine this season should get it as soon as possible; it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide full protection.

As families gather to celebrate the holidays, health officials are urging people to make efforts to prevent the spread of the flu.

"Even if you haven't yet been vaccinated and have already gotten sick with flu, you can still benefit from vaccination since the flu vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses, depending on the type of vaccine you receive", Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a statement. The flu season typically starts in October and can last as late as May. The vaccine also is egg free so it can be given to adults who have an egg allergy. Flu symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches and fatigue.

People with the flu are at a higher risk of sepsis, pneumonia and asthma attacks, though serious complications are rare; nevertheless previous year about 80,000 Americans died of flu-related illnesses.

Statistics show that during this period, the number of influenza cases decreased by 71 per cent. They are also available without an appointment at many pharmacy-based clinics. In addition to getting a flu shot, IDPH recommends following the 3 C's: clean, cover, and contain. This method is not recommended for heart disease patients or anyone with an elevated risk and is not widely used today. That's because most people think it's too late. So, it's never too late to get vaccinated. "By getting vaccinated you are protecting your family and those people you cross paths with every day".

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