Health officials encourage people to add a flu vaccine to their holiday checklist to help protect their guests this Thanksgiving.
“Many of those close to us need extra protection from the flu, especially our elderly family members and friends, babies, and those with special health conditions,” said Jeanne Ayers, state health officer. “Getting your flu vaccine is a very effective and thoughtful way to protect yourself and your guests this holiday season.”
In Wisconsin, six people died in September due to flu-related complications. Last year, such complications resulted in 3,500 people being hospitalized and over 600 admitted to the intensive care unit.
Nationally, some 17 million workdays are missed due to flu.
“Because it takes two weeks for the vaccine to take effect, getting one now will ensure protection by the time family and friends gather for the Thanksgiving holiday, and that protection will continue throughout the holiday season and beyond,” Ayers stated.
Flu vaccine is plentiful among health care providers and pharmacies. The flu shot is safe and effective for people age 6 months and older.
Locations of flu shots can be found at vaccinefinder.org. Shots also are available at local clinics and hospitals and may be available through area flu shot clinics provided by employers, faith-based organizations, and community groups.
These steps can also help you protect yourself, family members, and friends, said the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS):
> Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
> Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, and try to avoid touching your face with your hand. If you use a tissue, throw it away after one use.
> Use your own drinking cups and straws.
> Avoid being exposed to people who are sick.
> Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest, and do not smoke.
> Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (such as doorknobs, refrigerator handle, telephone, faucets).
> If you are sick, stay home, rest, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco. See a health care provider if your symptoms persist or get worse.
The DHS Weekly Influenza Report at dhs.wisconsin.gov provides information about the current flu season. More information is at @DHSWI on Twitter and Facebook.