Tuesday, January 12, 2010

People with chronic health conditions should be vaccinated against the flu

It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week, and although H1N1 flu activity has decreased in recent weeks, people in Maine and across the country are still being hospitalized and dying from influenza.

All 18 deaths due to H1N1 flu in Maine since August have been among people with underlying health conditions. If you have a high-risk condition, getting vaccinated is the single best action you can take to protect yourself from the flu.

Flu is unpredictable, but it often comes in waves. Now is an excellent time for people who have not been vaccinated against H1N1 and seasonal flu to do so before the next wave of disease. Vaccine is widely available in Maine now. Call your health care provider, or get the list of public clinics by calling 211 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or visiting www.maineflu.gov (all clinics posted in bold are free).

If you have an underlying health condition and experience flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately to receive a prescription for antiviral medications (such as Tamiflu®).

A schedule of events for National Influenza Vaccination Week is available on US CDC’s web site at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/NIVW/activities.htm?s_cid=cs_000&s_cid=cs_000

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