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December 5-12 is National Influenza Vaccination Week

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Margo Kerrigan, M.P.H., Area Director
Indian Health Service California Area Office


National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is a national observance established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination now, through the holiday season, and into January and beyond. From December 5th through 12th, NIVW events and activities around the United States focus on the importance of vaccinating

Although the Influenza season has begun, NIVW is an appropriate time to remind the members of your communities, including family, friends, and co-workers to get their Influenza immunization and to catch up on their other vaccinations as well. Centers for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice recommends an annual flu vaccination for all individuals six months of age and older, unless medically contraindicated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each fall. Good health habits and antiviral medications are other measures that can help protect against the flu. Studies show that Immunizations are the first line of defense against vaccine preventable disease and are important for children, adolescents, and adults.

Vaccine-preventable disease rates, including those for influenza, are lower than they have ever been; however in order to continue this pattern, healthcare providers must continue to educate their patients and provide immunizations as indicated by the recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Controls, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

The CDC recommends annual Flu vaccination for all health care providers (HCP), unless medically contraindicated, in order to reduce spread of disease between HCPs and patients and then into the local community. Health care providers are encouraged to promote annual influenza vaccination by educating patients and by choosing to get immunized annually against influenza as role models for prevention. 

What is Influenza ("Flu")?

  • Influenza is a highly infectious viral illness.
  • 5-20% of the population get the flu
  • More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications
  • About 36,000 people die from flu-related causes 

What are the symptoms of the "flu"? The symptoms for flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, and chills. If you have one of the following health conditions and you develop flu-like symptoms, seek medical care immediately:

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney Disease 

Most healthy people recover from the "flu" without problems, but the following persons are known to be at higher risk for developing complications from the flu:

  • Persons age 65 and older
  • Children younger than two years old
  • People of any age who have chronic medical conditions 

What can you do to avoid getting the "flu"?
Ask your healthcare provider about getting a seasonal flu vaccination now! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends seasonal "flu" vaccinations each year for all persons six months of age and older. 

In addition to getting vaccinated, the following habits can help stop the spread of germs:

  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

For additional information and resources, please visit: http://www.FLU.gov Exit Disclaimer – You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov

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