Want to give yourself a Christmas gift?
How about not getting the flu.
With the heart of the flu season finally upon us, and with the virus on the rise across California, the California Department of Public Health and Public Health Services of San Joaquin County are encouraging everybody who hasn’t already gotten a flu shot to get one before the holidays to help prevent the spread of the potentially deadly virus.
“While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity is usually highest between December and February and can continue into May,” said a release from San Joaquin County Public Health Services distributed on Friday. “We are reminding everyone that has not yet received the flu vaccine to do so in time for the holidays.”
And there’s really no reason not to get one – the idea that once the virus has started to spread it’s too late to actually get vaccinated has been proven to be false, and considering that it takes a full two weeks after getting the vaccination before you’re fully protected from the strains that it targets, those who want to make sure they don’t spread anything or pick anything up from family members are running out of time – if they haven’t already.
“As long as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late to get vaccinated,” the release said. “Don’t let the flu ruin your holidays.”
Last year 80,000 Americans died from the flu, and seemingly healthy young people in and around the Central Valley were part of that statistic – people who had never had any health problems before, in the prime of their lives, dying just days after being admitted to hospitals with a particularly aggressive strain of the flu.
The vaccinations are recommended for anybody six-months of age or older, and public health officials recommend the following practices for all people, including those who have been vaccinated, to help stop the spread of the flu and other season viruses:
*Stay home when sick.
*Use a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and properly dispose of used tissue – people can spread the flu from six feet of away when coughing or sneezing without protecting their mouth and nose.
*Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
*Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
For those without routine medical care or insurance coverage, flu vaccines are available at many pharmacies and clinics, a list of which can be found by visiting www.vaccinefinder.org. For additional information about the flu season, the flu vaccine, or the effort to contain it, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (209) 249.3544.