Local health officials urge vaccinations as flu season starts

October 26, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 26, 2012

Public Health – Seattle & King County is asking residents to receive flu vaccinations as flu season starts in Washington.

Influenza can cause significant lost time from work and school, plus the expense of visits to the doctor. The flu can also lead to hospitalization and even death in some cases. Though flu season peaks in the winter, it can start as early as October.

“Flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement.

Health experts recommend for everybody 6 months old and older to get the flu vaccine, especially people at high risk for severe influenza.

People at risk for severe influenza include children age 6 months to 5 years, pregnant woman, adults 50 and older, and people with chronic health problems, such as diabetes, extreme obesity, and heart, liver, lung, kidney and certain neurological diseases.

In addition, other household members, caregivers, and other close contacts of high risk people should get vaccinated to prevent.

The flu vaccine is widely available in King County at doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies and other providers. Some health care providers and pharmacies may also offer FluMist, the nasal spray vaccine.

“We’ve begun to get reports of confirmed influenza infections in our community, including our schools,” Dr. Jeff Duchin, chief, Communicable Disease Epidemiology & Immunization at Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement. “Vaccinate now to protect yourself and your family.”

Healthy habits can also limit the spread of influenza and other contagious illnesses. Cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands often, avoid close contact with ill people, and stay home from work, school and other public settings when ill.

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