State’s Top Doc Gives County Board Chair
Seasonal Flu Shot
All Illinoisans share the responsibility of reducing illness due to flu
CENTREVILLE, Ill. – In his tour of communities throughout the state, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold, along with and local health officials, visited Touchette Regional Hospital in Centreville to encourage Illinoisans to get a seasonal flu shot. At the event, Dr. Arnold gave St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern a seasonal flu shot and urged people to follow the 3 C’s – Clean, Cover, Contain. This fall’s flu season is expected to be worse than previous flu seasons because the new H1N1 flu strain will be circulating at the same time as the seasonal flu. The single best way for a person to protect themselves and their loved ones against the flu is to get vaccinated.
“With increased flu activity due to the addition of the new H1N1 virus, it is more important than ever to get a seasonal flu shot this year,” Dr. Arnold said. “It is also extremely important for everyone to make sure they practice good health hygiene and cough etiquette by following the 3 Cs - Clean – wash your hands frequently and properly to prevent the spread of germs; Cover – your cough and sneeze with a tissue or sleeve – not your hand; and Contain – contain your germs by staying home when you are sick.”
Each year an estimated five to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu. Approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized with complications from the flu and about 36,000 die annually. Flu symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or above, headache, body aches, exhaustion, chills and weakness.
“We are working closely with our local health providers, schools and community partners to prevent the spread of both seasonal and new HINI influenza by encouraging families and individuals to take measures to protect their own health; stay home if ill and get seasonal influenza vaccinations now and new HINI vaccinations as soon as they become available,” said Kevin Hutchison, Executive Director of the St. Clair County Health Department.
“The East Side Health District is actively collaborating with neighboring health departments, schools and community partners to provide information regarding the prevention of spreading the seasonal and new H1N1 flu and the need for appropriate vaccinations,” said Elizabeth Patton-Whiteside, East Side Health District Administrator.
The flu is spread through coughing or sneezing. People can also get the flu by touching objects carrying the virus, such as telephones and door knobs, and then touching their mouth or nose.
Young children, people with chronic medical conditions and elderly people are at higher risk of complications from seasonal flu and it is critical they get a seasonal flu shot. However, with the new H1N1 flu circulating simultaneously, Dr. Arnold is encouraging all Illinoisans, except those with contraindications, to get a seasonal flu shot this year. The more people who receive a seasonal flu vaccine, the better chance there is to reduce the number of people who become ill and overwhelm our health care systems.
A person does not contract the flu from getting a flu shot. Some people may experience a mild fever, body aches, and fatigue for a few days after being vaccinated, and soreness at the injection site, however this is not because the person has the contracted the flu from the shot.
The seasonal flu shot does not protect against the new H1N1 flu. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is finalizing development of a vaccine for the new H1N1 flu, which is separate from the seasonal flu vaccine. Initial shipments of the new H1N1 vaccine are expected to be available in mid-October. The new H1N1 vaccine is not intended to replace the seasonal flu vaccine – it is intended to be used in addition to seasonal flu vaccine.
For more information log onto www.ready.illinois.gov and www.flu.gov.