Get vaccinated against the flu to protect your loved ones
BISMARCK, ND – As part of National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 1-7, 2019, the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is reminding all North Dakotans to get their flu vaccine before the holidays.
“Everyone 6 months and older should be vaccinated, regardless of age or health status,” said Jenny Galbraith, immunization surveillance coordinator with the NDDoH. “Anyone can get the flu, including healthy individuals, and getting the flu vaccine is the easiest way to protect yourself, as well as your friends and family this season.”
It is especially important for people who are at greater risk of complications from the flu to be vaccinated. These include young children, older adults, those with compromised immune systems or chronic health conditions, pregnant women, American Indians, or Alaskan Natives. It is also important for those who spend time around anyone who is high risk for complications from flu to be vaccinated, because healthy individuals can become infected and pass the flu to their friends and family without showing any symptoms.
“Besides getting vaccinated against the flu, wash your hands thoroughly and often. Washing your hands with soapy water is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs,” said Levi Schlosser, epidemiologist with the NDDoH.
North Dakota is seeing early influenza activity, with 271 laboratory-identified cases reported to the NDDoH so far this season. Influenza can be unpredictable, and activity could increase at any time. People who have not had their influenza vaccine yet this season should get it as soon as possible, as it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide full protection. There is an adequate amount of flu vaccine available this season. To get vaccinated, people should contact their local public health unit, health care provider or pharmacist. For more information about influenza, visit www.ndflu.com.