BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is reminding all North Dakotans to get vaccinated against influenza. In an event held at the State Capitol, Governor Doug Burgum highlighted the importance of vaccination, stating, “Getting the flu vaccine is the easiest way to protect yourself, as well as your friends and family, from the flu.”
Everyone six months and older should receive the flu vaccine. Anyone can get the flu, including healthy individuals. When more people get the flu vaccine, the virus does not spread as easily and quickly to those who are vulnerable to serious complications from the flu. Those who are more likely to face serious complications include infants and young children, pregnant women, people older than 65, American Indians or Alaskan Natives, and those with chronic medical conditions.
By getting the flu vaccine you are not only protecting yourself, but you are protecting your community as well. “Flu vaccination is not an individual choice, but a societal one,” says Angie Wehrkamp, a mother who lost her child to influenza in 2015. “It’s an opportunity for us as parents to show that we not only care about our children, but we care about other children and our communities in general.”
Influenza is a respiratory disease. The most common symptoms are fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chills and body aches. In North Dakota, influenza activity begins in the fall and typically peaks between January and March. Seven influenza cases have already been reported in the state for the 2019-20 season.
People can get vaccinated against influenza anytime this fall, but the best time to get vaccinated is by the end of October. Vaccination does not protect against other respiratory diseases or the germs that cause “stomach flu.” North Dakotans are encouraged to contact their health care provider, local public health unit, or pharmacist for information about influenza vaccine availability in their area.
For more information, contact Jenny Galbraith or Levi Schlosser, NDDoH, at 701-328-2378. Information about influenza can be found at www.ndflu.com.