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blog-a-thon-imageAs the busy holiday season approaches, now is a great time to get a flu vaccine if you haven’t already. It’s the best protection against the flu for you and your loved ones. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year. Flu activity in New England usually peaks between January and February, though activity can last as late as May. As long as flu activity is ongoing, it’s not too late to get vaccinated, even in January or later.

Flu is potentially serious and deadly disease, especially for kids. So it’s very important to get them vaccinated.  Getting vaccinated yourself also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, people with certain chronic health conditions, and pregnant women. Even if you have already gotten sick with flu this season, it is still a good idea to get a flu vaccine. The vaccine protects against three or four different flu viruses (depending on which flu vaccine you get).

What else can you do to prevent flu? In addition to getting vaccinated:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the inside of your elbow if you don’t have a tissue.  Throw tissues away and wash your hands.  Always wash your hands before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Use household cleaners to clean things that are touched often, like door knobs, toys, and phones.
  • Avoid close physical contact with people who are sick.  Try to stay at least 3-6 feet from someone who is sick with the flu.
  • Stay home from work and school if you get sick with a flu-like illness (fever with cough or sore throat) and avoid contact with others so the virus does not spread.  Stay at home until you have been free from fever for at least 24 hours after your last dose of fever-reducing medication (like Tylenol, Advil or Motrin).  For most people this will mean staying at home for about 4 days.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health created a Flu Guide for Parents in English, Spanish, and Portuguese to answer common questions about the flu and flu vaccine.

It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones this flu season! Find out where you can get a flu vaccine by asking your primary care provider, going to a local pharmacy, or visiting https://vaccinefinder.org/ or mylocalclinic.com.

 

Written By:


Immunization Outreach Coordinator in the Bureau of Infectious Disease

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