November 7, 2012
Kansas City’s Health Department is encouraging its residents to line up for a flu shot.
“You don’t just get your flu shot to protect yourself,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James said, who got his flu shot Nov. 2. “When you’ve been vaccinated for influenza, you are far less likely to spread the flu to others around you, so everyone benefits when you take this step to help prevent the flu.”
A flu vaccination protects against the top three strains of flu likely to cause the most illness this season. In addition to receiving a flu shot, other important tools to aid against spreading influenza include frequent hand washing, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or an elbow and staying home when sick.
“Sometimes we forget that we can spread the flu virus for up to 24 hours before we start to feel sick, so even if you do all the other healthy behaviors but don’t get vaccinated, you can still spread the flu without knowing it,” said Dr. Rex Archer, director of the Health Department. “It’s important to both get the flu shot and practice these other healthy behaviors to prevent the spread of the flu in our community.”
Every year, the flu sickens thousands locally, sending many to hospital emergency departments. For some, the flu is fatal. According to the Kansas City Health Department, 60 people die each year on average from influenza or pneumonia in Kansas City, Mo.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu every year. Flu season typically starts in October, and flu activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks or months. The flu vaccine can take up to one or two weeks to be fully effective.
Who should not get a flu shot?
Talk with a doctor before getting a flu shot if you:
•Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to eggs or to a previous flu shot
•Have a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)