Now is the time to get your flu vaccine to guard against the three most common influenza viruses this season, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH).
The flu shot can be given to children as young as six months, in addition to adults. Though prevalence is low right now, officials say getting it sooner than later will help you to be protected.
“Although flu activity is low right now at the start of the season, activity is expected to increase and residents need to protect themselves by getting a flu shot,” said CCDPH interim chief operating officer Sandra Martell, RN, DNP.
“Young children, pregnant women, individuals with a weakened immune system and people aged 65 years and older are at a higher risk for complications from the flu. Protect yourself and those around you and get vaccinated, today,” Martell said.
The flu vaccine for 2012-2013 will protect against influenza A (H1N1) virus, influenza A (H3N2) virus, and influenza B virus. It is available through your family doctor, pharmacies and grocery stores throughout Cook County. If you need to find a clinic to get a vaccination, visit www.cookcountypublichealth.org.
Cook County residents also are advised that there are safe practices to stop the spread of the influenza virus. They include properly, and frequently washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze, and to stay home if you are sick so as not to infect others.
The influenza virus causes symptoms including cough, sore throat, runny or stuff nose, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. It affects the respiratory system and is normally spread when a person who is infected coughs or sneezes.
Influenza can be especially dangerous to elderly people and those fighting chronic illness.