The Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging everyone 6 months and older to get a flu shot during Vaccinate Illinois Week, Dec. 8-14.
Vaccinate Illinois Week coincides with National Influenza Vaccination Week, a national observance established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination and encourage more people to be vaccinated during the holiday season and into the new year.
Flu activity usually peaks around January. It is important to get a flu shot each year as flu viruses are constantly changing and new vaccine is made each year to target the circulating strains.
Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, but it is not typically associated with respiratory flu.
People with flu symptoms should stay home 24 hours after the fever is gone (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine). Antiviral drugs can make illness milder, shorten the length of illness and may prevent serious complications.
Complications of the flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions.
Pregnant women, young children, people 65 years and older, and anyone with underlying health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or a weakened immune system are at greater risk of complications from infection.
Flu shots and the nasal spray are available in many doctors’ offices, local health departments, health clinics, pharmacies and other health care providers.
More information about influenza can be found at www.idph.state.il.us/flu/index.htm.
The Monroe County Health Department is offering flu vaccinations at its office, 901 Illinois Avenue, Waterloo.
The health department is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Call 939-3871, ext. 10, for nurse availability.