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National Influenza Vaccination Week highlights the importance of flu vaccination for the best protection against the flu. Getting a flu vaccination in December or later will still provide protection this flu season. Melissa Gatch, Supervising Community Health Nurse notes that as the busy holiday season approaches, people who haven’t gotten a flu vaccine yet often take if off of their “to do” list. She said, “I urge everyone who hasn’t been immunized to get a flu vaccination to protect themselves, their family and friends from the flu during this holiday season and the winter months.”
The flu can make even healthy people very sick. It can also cause serious complications for children younger than 5, pregnant women, seniors and people with certain chronic health conditions. As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination to protect as many people as possible should continue throughout the holiday season and beyond.
Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and death.
Flu activity usually peaks in February or later in the United States and can last as late as May. Tompkins County often experiences a peak of flu illness during January and February when holiday travelers have returned to the area. There are many opportunities in the community for flu vaccination including health care provider offices and pharmacies; call first to confirm. It’s important to remember that as long as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.