Health

CDC urges flu shots for anyone over 6 months

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Fears of a flu pandemic are over, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a new message this flu season -- anyone over the age of six months should get a flu shot. This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week which highlights the importance of getting a flu shot, especially for at-risk groups such as the young, pregnant, elderly and those with chronic illness.

Last year, in Santa Clara County alone, more than a 1,000 people were hospitalized with severe flu symptoms and 23 died from influenza complications.

Dr. Sara Cody, deputy health officer for the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, says flu cases are just starting to be reported for this season. Dr. Cody says there is no way to predict how severe the season will be. She says, "It can vary from a sleeper year where we don't see much to a lot of illness and a lot of hospitalization."

This year the flu vaccination covers three strains of influenza including the H1N1 virus. There is a new, stronger dose for those people 65 years and older. Dr. Dean Didech of San Jose Medical Group specializes in pediatrics and adolescent medicine. He says it is also especially important that children be protected by the vaccine. Didech says, "Those under the age of five often have to seek medical care and those under the age of two can have really severe reactions to influenza."

You can find out more about the recommendations surrounding this year's flu vaccine by going to the CDC's 2010-2011 Flu Season page and you can find where to get a flu shot in your area by entering your zip code in the flu vaccine finder at www.flu.gov.

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flu, centers for disease control, santa clara county, health, karina rusk
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