Last year a record 6,023 cases of influenza were confirmed by the Douglas County Health Department. What happened in Douglas County was not unusual. The flu season that ended in the spring set records with more than 900,000 people hospitalized and 80,000 deaths due to the seasonal flu across the country.
That included 180 children. For those reasons, the CDC and the Douglas County Health Department suggest you get the flu vaccine by the end of October.
“The flu season always brings some surprises, but we know the flu can kill,” Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour says. “Everyone six months of age and older should get the flu vaccine.”
The 2018-2019 seasonal flu vaccine is available from health care providers and pharmacies throughout the community. It comes in formulas that protect against three or four strains of the flu and the nasal spray vaccine is back in use this year.
Vaccination is strongly recommended for pregnant women who are at a much higher risk for complications. The vaccine will protect the mother and the baby will have protection for about the first six months of life. Then they can directly receive the vaccine.
People at risk of developing serious flu complications are advised to get the vaccine. Those include people aged 65 and over, who can receive a higher dose, plus anyone with asthma, diabetes, or chronic lung disease. If you’re in that age group, or any of these others groups, and develop flu-like symptoms, please seek medical advice.
“It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide protection, so the sooner you get the shot, the sooner you’re protected,” Dr. Pour said. “The vaccine remains your best protection against the seasonal flu. It also helps protect the people around you.”