Keep the holidays healthy: Annual flu vaccination protects yourself and loved ones

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reminds Iowans that an annual flu vaccination is the best way to protect them and their loved ones from the flu. As people gather together for holiday meals and parties, they’re more likely to spread illness around. Receiving the flu vaccine will help everyone stay healthy to enjoy all the festivities.

This is especially important during family gatherings that infants, those with chronic diseases, or elderly individuals might attend. Infants younger than six months of age are not old enough to receive the influenza vaccine, so they are at a higher risk of catching the flu from someone else and they have the highest chance of being hospitalized if they get ill. Anyone with flu-like symptoms during the holidays must stay home and away from others.

The flu vaccine is plentiful, widely available, and is recommended for everyone six months of age and older. While the flu vaccine is the best defense against getting influenza, it’s also important to take personal actions to help prevent the spread of illness. Remember the 3Cs: Cover your coughs and sneezes; Clean your hands frequently; and Contain germs by staying home when ill.

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. It spreads easily from person to person and can cause mild to severe illness. The flu comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days. Influenza may cause severe illness or complications in people such as the very young or very old, or those who have underlying health conditions.

Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care offers flu shots every Wednesday afternoon during regular immunization clinics. The next flu shot clinics will be held Wednesday, December 6 from 1-6 p.m. and again Wednesday, December 13 from 1-4 p.m., and each Wednesday thereafter. Appointments can also be made by calling 563-568-5600. The Community and Home Care Immunization Clinic is located on the upper level of Veterans Memorial Hospital. 

Immunization clinics are held from 1-6 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays of the month, and from 1-4 p.m. all other Wednesdays. Flu vaccine, pneumonia vaccine, and a combination of flu and pneumonia vaccine will all be available. Tetanus shots will be offered as well.

For more information, call Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care at 563-568-5660.
 

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