By Niagara County Department of Health
Aligned with National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 3-9, the Niagara County Department of Health reminds individuals it is never too late to get you or your child the flu vaccine.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends flu vaccination efforts continue throughout the flu season.
The community is reminded flu season can peak between December and March, but flu activity can occur at any time before the peak times.
"To prevent flu, individuals should get their flu shot every year and practice routine hand washing," Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton said.
For millions of people every season, the flu means cough, fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue and days spent in bed. It is a contagious illness that can spread quickly from one person to another. It spreads from person to person when someone with the flu coughs or sneezes. One can also get the flu if one touches an object or surface with flu virus on it and then touches one's mouth or nose. Flu can cause mild to severe illness, and, at times, can lead to death.
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. Children 6 months through 8 years of age will require two doses of flu vaccine 28 days apart for adequate protection if this is the first time they are getting a flu vaccine.
The flu vaccine is not approved for children younger than 6 months of age. They have a higher risk of flu complications than children of any other age, so it's important that members of their household and their caregivers are vaccinated.
The flu vaccine cannot give one the flu. It stimulates one's body to produce antibodies that protect one from the flu viruses.
Once one gets the flu vaccine, it takes about two weeks for it to be fully effective. Until then, one is still at risk for getting the flu.
There are some people who are at high risk for serious flu-related complications that can lead to hospitalization and even death. People who are at high risk include pregnant women, children younger than 5, people 65 years of age and older, and people who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease.
Don't let the flu sneak up on you. For questions regarding the flu shot, talk to your doctor or call the NCHD immunization line at 278-1903.