With flu season almost here, the Community Health Center has opened Express Flu Clinics at each of its 12 sites in Connecticut. CHC patients can quickly receive their flu vaccines at the clinics, which are open during normal operating hours.
This year's flu shot is an all-in-one vaccine, protecting against seasonal flu. Even if you received the vaccine last year, you must get it again this year to be protected. Because the flu virus continually changes, new vaccines must be developed each year. Most people only need one shot; however, children under 9 may need two doses of vaccine, depending on their previous vaccination history.
Who should get the flu shot
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that everyone older than 6 months of age get the vaccine this year to protect against the flu.
New state regulations this year require that children enrolled or enrolling in a licensed family day care home, licensed child day care center or licensed group day care home are required to show proof of receiving the flu vaccine before he/she can attend a licensed day care facility. By January 1, 2011 and each January 1 after, children ages 6 to 59 months are required to receive at least one dose of the flu vaccine between September 1 and December 31 of the preceding year. Children who have never received the flu vaccination may have to receive two doses of vaccine during the first season they are vaccinated.
Other groups who should get the vaccine include:
- Family members, household contacts, health care workers and out-of-home care providers of children younger than 5
- People over 65, pregnant women and those with asthma, diabetes, neurological disorders and heart and lung disease - all of whom are at high risk for flu complications
Some people should not be vaccinated without first consulting a health care provider:
- People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs
- People who have had a severe reaction to flu vaccine in the past
- People who developed Guillian-Barre syndrome (GBS) within six weeks of getting a flu vaccine previously
- Children less than 6 months of age
- People with moderate or severe illness with a fever. Wait until symptoms lessen before getting vaccinated.
Protect yourself from the flu
In addition to getting a flu shot, you can protect yourself from the flu by:
- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, which spreads germs.
- Trying to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you do feel ill, stay home. If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
What's fact and what's flu fiction?
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