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  • Last modified 2845 days ago (Feb. 2, 2011)

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Vaccines still available, flu activity increases

Influenza cases are increasing and Kansas Department of Health and Environment is urging everyone 6 months and older to receive a seasonal influenza vaccine.

Reports of influenza-like illness from surveillance sites throughout the state have lead KDHE to report flu activity as widespread. In addition to the 2009 H1N1 virus, strains of influenza A and B also are circulating.

Since October, Marion County residents have had flu shots available to them from healthcare providers and Marion County Health Department.

The health department has given about 920 doses of vaccines this year, about 400 fewer than last year.

“I feel as a whole more people in general received flu shots,” health department director Diedre Serens said, but just not at the health department.

She believes availability of vaccines in department stores and pharmacies have provided vaccines to some people who used to receive them from the county office.

“People become anxious and they will go where they can to get them as soon as the word gets out,” Serene said. “We still have vaccines available.”

“Although each influenza season is unpredictable, we typically see the peak in February,” KDHE Secretary Robert Moser said. “It is not too late to get a flu shot. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and those around you from getting influenza and potentially becoming sick for a week or longer.”

KDHE and the Center for Disease Control recommend everyone 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine. People at high risk of serious influenza complications, including young children; pregnant women; people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease; and people 65 and older, should make the vaccination a priority.

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness and its symptoms include sudden onset of fever, sore throat, muscle aches, and non-productive cough. More serious illness can result if pneumonia occurs. Influenza is spread by direct contact with an infected person or by airborne droplets that produce infection when they are inhaled or ingested off hands.

To reduce the spread of influenza, it is important to practice the “3 Cs” — clean, properly wash hands frequently; cover cough and sneezes, and contain germs by staying home if sick.

Last modified Feb. 2, 2011

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