’Tis the season – flu season

With the excitement of the holiday season right around the corner, you probably are thinking about shopping, cooking, parties and snow sports. You are not thinking about chills, aches and fever. You should. Now’s the time to take action against influenza, before it interferes with your winter fun.

Flu immunizations are not only important for children, but also for adults to protect themselves and those around them. At Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, we know vaccines work best when most members of a community are vaccinated. This lowers everyone’s risk of exposure to preventable diseases. To help stop the spread of the flu, this year’s flu vaccine includes protection against H1N1 and seasonal flu strains.

Keep this in mind:
•    Flu vaccine is safe and effective. Because vaccines must be safe for use by as many people as possible, they are developed in accordance with the highest standards of safety. As a result, the United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history.
•    Flu vaccine does not make you sick. However, as with any medical procedure, individuals react differently to vaccines, and there is no way to absolutely predict the reaction of a specific individual to a particular vaccine.
•    Flu vaccine does not provide full protection until two weeks after you receive it. Get vaccinated early.
•    The influenza virus changes each year. Last year’s vaccination will not protect you this year. You need a new vaccination each year.
•    Seasonal influenza results in 220,000 hospitalizations and 23,607 deaths every year.

Until we are able to eliminate influenza, it is important to keep immunizing. By getting a flu vaccination, you benefit yourself as well as the vulnerable, unvaccinated people around you.

Visit this website to find a flu vaccine location near you — www.google.org/flushot.

JUST FOR FUN
To read about immunization myths, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/6mishome.htm. For ten tips about immunizations, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/10-shouldknow.htm.

~ Joe Weyker, MBA, RN, manager, Employee Health and Wellness, Children’s Hospital and Health System