October 3, 1996
IT IS TIME FOR YOUR ANNUAL FLU SHOTSPRINGFIELD, IL -- Want to avoid the fever, runny nose, fatigue, aches, cough and sore throat of the flu this year? Then get your annual flu shot now.
Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, today reminded Illinoisans, particularly the elderly and those with chronic illnesses, it's time to schedule their annual influenza vaccination.
"Typically the flu season runs from November until April with peak activity most often between January and March," Dr. Lumpkin said. "October is the optimal time for those at high risk for influenza-related medical complications to be vaccinated, since it takes about two weeks for immunity to develop."
An influenza vaccination does not always protect a person from getting the flu, but in most instances it reduces the severity of the illness and the risk of serious complications. The shots are specifically recommended for people 65 years of age and older and people of any age with underlying medical conditions.
Those at increased risk of influenza complications include --
In addition, the following groups should be vaccinated because, while not at high risk themselves, they may spread the flu to persons who are at high risk.
Dr. Lumpkin also noted that influenza vaccine may be administered to any person who wishes to reduce his or her chance of influenza infection for the 1996-97 flu season.
This year's flu vaccine has been updated to protect against the most current influenza virus strains -- A/Texas, A/Wuhan and B/Beijing. A strains of flu virus tend to affect more people because these strains change quickly and people are not able to develop immunity as well as they can to B strains.
Symptoms of the flu include fever (usually 100 degrees to 103 degrees in adults and often higher in children) and respiratory symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, as well as headache, muscle aches and often extreme fatigue. Most people recover completely within two weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life-threatening medical complications, such as pneumonia. In Illinois, as many as 4,000 influenza-related deaths are reported each year.
The flu vaccine is safe and effective. It is made from killed influenza viruses, which cannot cause the flu. However, people who are allergic to eggs or who have a fever should check with their physician before receiving the vaccine.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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