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The Scoop

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Verbatim: Flu season is under way

Statement issued Thursday:

INDIANAPOLIS – State health officials would like to remind Hoosiers during National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 5-11, that flu season is well underway and now is a great time to get vaccinated.

“Again, everyone over 6 months of age should get the flu vaccine,” said Shawn Richards, respiratory epidemiologist for the Indiana State Department of Health. “We may not be seeing much flu circulating right now, but it is still early in the season. There is ample supply of seasonal flu vaccine, so we encourage anyone who wants it to not wait and to get vaccinated now.”

In honor of the flu-dedicated week, President Barack Obama issued the Presidential Proclamation for National Influenza Vaccination Week on December 7, 2010. In it, the President states that “the flu vaccine is a safe and effective in preventing the spread of the flu virus” and urges Americans to protect themselves from the flu by not only getting themselves vaccinated, but by encouraging their friends, family and coworkers to do the same.

The universal flu recommendation that all Americans over the age of six months get vaccinated is new this season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recommendation stresses the importance of preventing the flu in everyone, pointing out that even healthy people can get sick from the flu.

The good news for this flu season is that, unlike during the H1N1 pandemic of last season, one vaccination is all you will need to protect yourself.

“This year’s vaccine contains protection against three flu strains, including the 2009 H1N1,” said Richards. “These are the same strains we are seeing circulating around the country. For that reason, we feel this year’s vaccine offers good protection.”

Richards also reminds the public to practice the three “C’s:”

· Clean – Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water;

· Cover – Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm or a disposable tissue;

· Contain – Stay home from school/work when you are sick to keep your germs from spreading.

For more information about influenza, please visit www.IN.gov/flu.

For more information about getting a voucher for a free Walgreens flu vaccination from the American Lung Association, please visit http://www.lungusa.org/associations/states/indiana/ or call (800) 548-8252.

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