Get Your Flu Shot to Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

It’s always important for people to do everything they can to stay healthy, but with the added stress of the holidays it becomes more essential than ever. There is one simple step that everyone can take to protect themselves, their family and the community this holiday season: get immunized against the flu.

Influenza Vaccination Week is December 4-10, 2011, and it could not have come at a better time. The first two cases of influenza in Montana have been identified for the 2011-2012 flu season. The Cascade City-County Health Department wants to take this opportunity to remind people that it is not too late to seek protection from this potentially serious illness. Getting your flu shot now can give you the protection you need to stay healthy throughout the winter.

National Influenza Vaccination Week provides an opportunity for public health professionals, health care providers, communities and families from across the country to work together to promote flu vaccination before the traditional winter peak in flu activity. The flu is now in Montana, and it is important that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so. The City-County Health Department provides flu shots on Tuesdays 8:30-11:30am and Wednesdays through Fridays from 8:30-11:30am and 1-4:30pm. No appointments are necessary, and the cost is $14 for children and $25 for adults. Cash, check, credit and insurance cards are all accepted. If someone is healthy and between 2 and 49 years of age, they may be able to get the vaccine through a nasal spray instead of the flu shot that is administered with a needle.

The flu vaccine is still the single best way to prevent the flu. As people travel and gather for the holidays it is more important than ever for them to protect themselves and their loved ones from influenza.

Health officials also continue to recommend frequent and effective hand washing and covering all coughs and sneezes with your sleeve. Anyone who is ill with flu-like symptoms should stay home from school or work to prevent the spread of illness to others. For more information, visit CCHD’s Immunizations page or www.flu.gov.