SOURCE: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Sep 19, 2012) - Many parents and caregivers who think of the flu as nothing more than a bad cold may be surprised to learn that it's actually a serious illness that can sideline them, and their children, for weeks with respiratory problems, fever and body aches. Each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 200,000 people are hospitalized with flu-related complications. In a typical year, the CDC also notes, approximately five to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu, which is dangerous to everyone, regardless of age or physical condition.
Fortunately, an annual flu vaccine can prevent the flu. This year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has developed a series of new radio PSAs to encourage all U.S. residents over the age of six months to get vaccinated against the flu. To access the new PSA, please visit: www.westglen.com/online/families_flu.mp3.
Vaccinations can be obtained for free or at a low cost at thousands of locations around the U.S., including community health centers, pharmacies and workplaces. HHS has created a Flu Vaccine Finder that lists vaccination locations by zip code at www.flu.gov. To access the Finder, go to the "Prevention and Vaccination" tab at www.flu.gov and click on "Vaccination."
It typically takes two weeks following vaccination to develop full protection against the flu, so it's important to get vaccinated as early as possible in the season, which begins in October and can last through May.
The vaccine can be given by a shot or through a nasal spray. Side effects are limited, and may include slight soreness and/or redness where the shot was given. Vaccinations are especially important for people with chronic conditions, such as asthma or diabetes, which make them much more susceptible to deadly complications from the flu. Individuals with asthma should get the flu shot, not the nasal spray.
For additional information, visit www.flu.gov.