IDPH recommends, ‘Get vaccinated now, before flu season begins’

Nasal spray a recommended option for 2018–2019 flu season

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (September 24, 2018) – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommends everyone six months and older be vaccinated as flu vaccines become available within a community. The nasal spray flu vaccine is once again a recommended option. During the past two flu seasons, the nasal spray was not recommended due to concern about its effectiveness.

“It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “The flu season typically starts around October so we recommend you make plans to get vaccinated now, before flu season begins.”

Flu activity peaks between December and February, but activity can last as late as May. Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness. Serious cases of flu can result in hospitalization or death.

An annual flu vaccine is the first and best form of protection from the flu. It can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu. Vaccinating people who are able to get vaccinated also protects people who are not able to be vaccinated, such as babies younger than six months.

Flu symptoms can include fever or feverish chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and tiredness. Some people may also experience vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Flu is typically spread by droplets when someone with the flu talks, coughs, or sneezes. People can also get the flu by touching something, like a door handle, that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, eyes, or nose.

On average, symptoms begin about two days after being exposed to the flu. Infected people can pass the flu to someone else roughly a day before symptoms start, and up to 5–7 days after becoming sick.

In addition to getting a flu shot, IDPH recommends following the three C’s:

  • Clean – frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water
  • Cover – cover your cough and sneeze
  • Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you are sick

Influenza antiviral drugs can be a second line of defense for treatment of some who get sick with the flu. Many observational studies have found that in addition to lessening the duration and severity of symptoms, antiviral drugs can prevent flu complications. Because it is important to start antiviral medication quickly, high-risk patients should contact a healthcare professional at the first signs of influenza symptoms, which include sudden onset of fever, aches, chills, and tiredness.

To find a location to get a flu shot near Lansing, Illinois, check with your healthcare provider, or use the online Vaccine Finder for a list of vaccine providers near any given ZIP code:

 

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