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New Hampshire Residents Reminded It’s Not Too Late to Vaccinate!
DHHS Recognizes National Influenza Immunization Week
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Public Information Office
(603) 271-9388

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Immunization Program
Publish Date:
December 9, 2014

Concord, NH – The annual influenza (flu) season is underway and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is encouraging any residents who have not yet received their flu vaccination this year to do so. The flu vaccine is still the single best protection against the flu. It is also helpful in reducing the length and severity of illness if someone does get the flu. National Influenza Immunization Week was established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.

On December 4th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the strain of flu that is making most people in the United States sick so far this season is in this year’s vaccine, but it is not a perfect match. The influenza A (H3N2) strain has changed since the vaccine was manufactured, which is not uncommon with flu strains. The vaccine does still offer some protection against the flu and its complications.

"We want to make sure that New Hampshire residents are as well protected as possible against the flu and the best preventive step is still to get vaccinated," said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DPHS. "It is also important that if you do think you have the flu, speak with your healthcare provider as soon as possible and stay home from school and work to avoid spreading it to others who are at risk."

It is especially important that those at higher risk for influenza complications be vaccinated. These groups include:

  • Children aged 6 months through 4 years of age
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults 65 years of age or older
  • People who are immunosuppressed
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, including asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or chronic lung disease.

People who live with or care for those at high risk of flu complications should also be vaccinated including:

  • Health care workers
  • Household contacts of persons at high risk of complications from the flu
  • Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children younger than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated).

Additionally, it is also important for patients who have flu symptoms, even if they have been vaccinated, to seek medical attention. There are antiviral medications that can be administered to shorten symptoms and help prevent more serious illness and complications. These medications are more effective the sooner they are administered after developing symptoms.

Influenza can be a serious disease of the lungs, nose, and throat. The illness is spread from person to person through contact with respiratory secretions including through coughing and sneezing. Typical flu symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. An average of 23,000 people die each year in the United States due to influenza. The vaccine itself does not give you the flu and is very safe.

There is plenty of flu vaccine available, and vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, retail stores, pharmacies, health care centers, as well as some employers and schools. To look for a flu vaccine near you visit http://www.flu.gov/prevention-vaccination/vaccination/.

For more information on influenza and the vaccine, contact the NH Immunization Program at 1-800-852-3345 x 4482 or 603-271-4482 or the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 1-800-852-3345 x 0279 or 603-271-0279. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov for more information or the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov.

 
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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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