DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Health

December 7, 2011

Forget your flu shot? There's still time

CONCORD — It's not too late to get your flu vaccination and vaccine manufacturers are projecting that there will be plenty of flu vaccine to go around.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Immunization Program is recognizing this as National Influenza Vaccination Week.

The week was established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination, as well as to foster greater use of flu vaccine after the holiday season into January and beyond.

The flu season typically runs from October to May and has not really begun in New Hampshire yet so there is still plenty of time to get a flu vaccine for this year.

"We have to remember that influenza kills roughly 25,000 people in this country every year and hospitalizes over 200,000 annually," said Dr. José© Montero, director of public health at DHHS. "This is not just a cold. Though many people only become mildly ill, anyone, no matter how healthy or what age, can contract the flu and be out of commission for days."

Immunity from the influenza vaccine does not last from season to season, plus the flu strains that are circulating, and thus the composition of the vaccine, change ever year so it is important to be vaccinated again even if you were last year.

CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months or older receive an annual flu vaccine, particularly those at greater risk of serious flu-related complications like pneumonia that can lead to hospitalization and even death.

Symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, running or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed instead of at work or school. While flu vaccine is available at doctor's offices and health departments, it is also available at many pharmacies, workplaces, and other retail and clinic locations throughout the state.

For more information about flu vaccination, visit cdc.gov/flu or dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/immunization/index.htm, or call 271-4482.

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