Did you know? Nebraska’s flu vaccination coverage ranked in the top 10 nationwide for the 2012-2013 flu season. Just over 50 percent of Nebraskans 6 months old and over got their flu vaccine last year according to data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. October marks the start of another flu season and it’s time to get vaccinated.
“Flu isn’t circulating in Nebraska yet so we’ve got a little lead time. Take advantage of it and get flu vaccine now,” said Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “Your body will have time to build immunity and you’ll be protected when flu shows up on our doorstep.”
The CDC recommends flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.
While flu can make anyone sick, certain people are at greater risk for serious complications, and it’s extremely important they receive a vaccine:
- Young children
- Older people
- People with chronic lung disease (like asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions and certain other long-term health conditions
- Pregnant women
Flu vaccine is safe, effective and rigorously tested. The most common reaction is soreness and redness at the injection site. If you don’t like needles, FluMist is a nasal spray available for healthy people 2-49 years old. After you’re vaccinated, it takes about two weeks for your body to build immunity.
Flu can be a serious disease. It can hit you hard and fast and make you sick for one to two weeks. Severe cases of flu can lead to hospitalization and even death.
Flu season arrived early last year and the season was more harsh than usual. Public health officials can’t predict what’s in store for this year but they say getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu.
DHHS officially started flu surveillance Sept. 30. Surveillance shows where the flu is and how fast it’s spreading across the state.
DHHS uses multiple surveillance systems to track flu viruses, including sentinel physicians who report the number of people with flu-like illness weekly, lab tests, school surveillance, hospital data, emergency department data and death reporting.
For more flu information, visit the DHHS website at www.dhhs.ne.gov/flu.