New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

Health

Take Time to Get a Flu Vaccine: Protect Yourself and Your Family

Seasonal influenza is among the most common respiratory illnesses in the United States infecting millions of people every flu season. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Severe flu complications can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Each year more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu related complications. Flu related deaths average 34,000 each year. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women and persons with chronic health conditions are all at increased risk for complications.

While flu is very unpredictable and varies each season, flu activity can begin as early as October and continue as late as May. Getting an annual flu vaccination is the most important step in preventing the flu and it complications. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that everyone six (6) months of age and older should get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available in their community. Even healthy children and adults can become very ill from the flu. Flu vaccine is available at a variety of venues. Getting a vaccine is now more convenient than ever before. In New Britain, vaccines are already available at the Health Department, local physicians’ offices, clinics, retail pharmacies as well as grocery stores.

Symptoms of influenza include: fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny/nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue. Some people may also experience vomiting and diarrhea. There are prescription medicines (antivirals) that may help make symptoms milder and shorten the length of the illness. They provide the greatest benefit if they are started within the first 48 hours of illness onset. Your healthcare provider will decide whether you need an antiviral medication.

You can help protect yourself and stop the spread of flu virus and other germs by adopting these preventative everyday actions.

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue in the trash after use. If no tissue is available, you may cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water, or alcohol based hand rub if they are not available.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Avoid contact with sick people.

• If you become sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to prevent spreading the infection.

The New Britain Health Department will be holding its first Influenza Clinic on Wednesday September 26 from 9am to 2pm at the New Britain Senior Center. This clinic is no cost to persons with Medicare, Anthem, Connecticare, Cigna and Aetna insurances. Please bring all your insurance cards with you. We also have flu vaccine available for children free of charge at the Health Department, 88 Prospect Street.If you have any questions, please call the Health Department at 860-826-3464. For more information about Influenza, visit CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/flu.

 

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