State health officials urge Virginians to get flu vaccine

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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ7) - The 2019-2020 flu season is underway, and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is asking all Virginians who are at least six months old to get the annual influenza vaccine.

VDH says current flu activity in Virginia is at the “local” level, meaning there has been lab activity with elevated influenza-like illness or more than one outbreak in one region of the state. Click for the weekly activity report.

Flu season normally begins in October and ends in late May. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises vaccination by the end of October is preferred, vaccination in November and beyond can be beneficial during most flu seasons, since influenza activity usually peaks in January or later, according to stae health officials.

State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A., says, “Getting vaccinated is important since even mild cases of influenza can lead to lost time at work or with friends and family. Hopefully most Virginians have already been vaccinated, but now is still a great time to get your flu shot – before the winter holidays when we gather with friends and family.”

“As a physician, I applaud all Virginians who have already received their flu vaccine and encourage those who haven’t to make time to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible,” says Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey, M.D. “It’s not too late to vaccinate against this serious illness. Protecting yourselves, your family and your community against the flu starts with getting vaccinated.”

VDH FLU SEASON GUIDELINES:

1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
2. Stay home when you are sick to prevent spreading your illness to others.
3. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
4. Clean your hands – with soap if available, or if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
6. Practice other good health habits, like cleaning surfaces, getting plenty of physical activity and sleep, staying hydrated and eating nutritious food.

For more information on seasonal influenza and flu vaccinations, click here and here.

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