Holiday season prime time for flu vaccines

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In light of the impending holiday and flu season, health officials encourage everyone who is 6 months of age and older to receive a flu vaccination, if they haven’t already done so.

The flu is a very contagious respiratory illness, and the CDC says the best way to prevent it is to get an annual vaccine.

“As families travel around Alabama and to other parts of the United States this holiday season, it is important to be protected from influenza,” said Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself against this deadly disease. And remember to cover your coughs and sneezes to help not spread flu to others.”

After two years of rampant flu seasons, flu season is getting under way in a normal fashion this year.

During most years, flu season hits its peak during January or February, but in the past few years, it has gotten under way much quicker.

Alabama’s influenza surveillance map, a feature on the ADPH website, shows that no reported cases in Covington County; however, a case of Type A was recently reported in Geneva County.

Since Oct. 2, 15 people have been diagnosed with Type A (H3), two people with H1N1, 102 with Type A, but it is unknown which subtype and 69 cases were reported to be Type B.

Alabama and Mississippi appear to have the highest level of activity; however it remains low, according the CDC FluView application.

Influenza vaccination is especially recommended for the following

persons who are at higher risk of influenza-related complications:


· All children younger than 5 years of age, but especially

children younger than 2 years

· Adults 50 years of age and older, especially those 65 years and older

·Adults and children with chronic disorders

· Pregnant women

· Children aged 6 months through 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy

· Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities

·Persons who are immunosuppressed

· Health care workers

· Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children

less than age 5 and adults 50 years of age and older

· People who are morbidly obese (those with a body mass index,

or BMI, of 40 or greater)

Contact your private physician or your local county health department

for a flu clinic schedule at 222-1175.