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9/17/2012

Protect yourself now with a flu shot, before flu season starts

Public Health employees get shots tomorrow to prevent flu in the workplace, community

Contact

Dr. Alan Melnick, Public Health
Phone: (360) 397-8412
alan.melnick@clark.wa.gov

Vancouver, WA — Flu vaccine is now widely available in Clark County and health officials are recommending that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated early.

“We want people to get the vaccine as soon as it’s available, which means now,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Health Officer. “This should provide protection if the flu season comes early.”

Flu can occur at any time, but it occurs primarily from October through May. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop and provide protection against the disease.

Flu is a contagious respiratory disease that kills thousands of Americans annually and hospitalizes many thousands more. Flu shots remain the best defense for preventing flu-related illness and missed days at school or work. Vaccination with the live, nasal-spray flu vaccine (FluMist) is an option for people between two and 49 who are healthy and not pregnant.

Clark County Public Health employees will line up for vaccinations at work on Tuesday, Sept. 18. “We hope our example will encourage other businesses and individuals to get vaccinated against flu,” said Dr. Melnick. “A healthier workforce is a more productive workforce. By getting vaccinated, we’re protecting our personal health and the health of others around us.”

To get a flu shot, contact your health care provider or check with a local pharmacy. Public Health does not offer vaccinations to community members.

Businesses wishing to have flu shots provided to staff onsite can call:
• Adventist Health: (503) 251-6818
• Get a Flu Shot: 1-877-358-7468 (Getaflushot.com)
• Maxim Healthcare Service: (360) 896-7289
• Passport Health: (360) 597-4495

People at greatest risk of complications from flu are especially urged to get vaccinated. They include young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with asthma, diabetes, heart disease and neurological and other long-term health conditions.

In addition to being vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that people observe these everyday practices to reduce the chance of catching or spreading flu and other diseases:

• Cough or sneeze into your arm or cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities. Your fever should come down without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

For more information, see http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits/

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