The Tennessee Department of Health is encouraging all Tennesseans who have not had their annual flu vaccine to get immunized as soon as possible to protect themselves and prevent the spread of flu to others.
“The elderly, people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, and young children are all at risk of severe complications if they get the flu,’’ said TDH Commissioner Morgan McDonald, MD FACP FAAP. ‘We expect more Tennesseans in their doctors’ offices as influenza activity continues to be high nationally and in our state. I encourage those who have put off getting a vaccine to not wait any longer.’’
So far this flu season, the CDC estimates there have been 13 million illnesses, 120,000 hospitalizations, and 7,300 deaths in the U.S. from influenza.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Get a Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is free and safe, and more than likely a flu vaccine location is close to you. Find out at www.tn.gov/health/fightflu, select the Find a Flu Shot Near You icon. Everyone 6 months and older can get a flu vaccine. It is very important for health care workers and those who live or care for people at high risk from flu complications to get vaccinated.
Take Steps to Prevent the Spread
Avoid close contact with those who are sick. If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible. Wash your hands often with soap and water, and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Take Flu Antivirals, If Prescribed
So, what about treatment? If you are sick with the flu, your doctor may prescribe flu antiviral drugs as treatment. Antivirals can make flu illness milder and shorten the time someone is sick. They are not available over-the-counter and should be taken only at the instruction of, and as prescribed by, a physician or health care provider.