National Influenza Vaccination Week: Monmouth County encourages residents to get their vaccines

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There have been a total of 20 pediatric flu deaths reported in MS since they became reportable in the 2008-2009 flu season. Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health Dr. Jeffery Howard says his own position is that being vaccinated helps protect the person - and those around them.

Health department data shows that most of the patients were from Tulsa County as 33 people were hospitalized there.

The flu vaccine is available to adults of all ages, including pregnant women, and children 6 months and older. As many as 35 million flu cases are expected this year, starting in October and continuing into May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In addition to getting vaccinated, residents are reminded to protect others by remembering to cover your cough, wash your hands frequently and stay home if you are ill.

Vaccinations remain to be the top defense against the flu, especially during flu season. Flu season most often peaks between December and March, but activity can occur as late as May. Now that the new flu season is already underway, the medical community is still urging the unvaccinated members of the public to get immunized. Too many of us did not use that tool - the flu shot - for one reason or another.

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Influenza A is the type of flu virus confirmed in the region, for which infants are most at risk to contract. Health care personnel who receive annual influenza vaccination make an important contribution to prevent transmission of influenza to high-risk patients, their families, and the community.

Christa Mitchell from Central Kentucky says she spent 49 days in the hospital after contracting the flu the day after Christmas. Furthermore, the vaccine's side effects are minor, and it does not cause the flu, as is believed by 31 percent of those who are not planning to get the flu vaccine. Even healthy people can be infected and spread the flu virus without showing symptoms.

Though the vaccine is imperfect, it lessens the severity and duration of symptoms, and those who get flu after receiving a vaccine are less likely to require hospitalization and less likely to die.

Patients without access to a military treatment facility can get the influenza vaccine from a participating retail network pharmacy or their health care provider.

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