• By Lynne Mitchell
  • Posted Monday, October 10, 2011

State Health Director Urges Flu Vaccines for Children & Adults

State Health Director Dr. Jeff Engel took the opportunity of getting his seasonal flu vaccination Friday to emphasize the importance of prevention as the best way to avoid the flu this year.

“I encourage all North Carolinians to protect themselves and their family members by getting immunized against flu,” Engel said. “Last year, 36 people died from flu-related illness in our state. Ten of them were children under 18. With vaccine readily available, there is no need for anyone to suffer or die from a disease that is so easily preventable.”

Flu immunizations are recommended for anyone over 6 months of age and are the safest and most effective way to prevent flu. This year, vaccine is available in several forms, including:

  • nasal spray for healthy people 49 and younger;
  • a regular flu shot approved for people ages 6 months and older;
  • an intradermal flu shot approved for people 18 to 64 years of age (intradermal means it is injected into the skin instead of the muscle. The intradermal shot uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot.); and
  • a high-dose flu shot approved for people 65 and older.

While flu can have serious implications even for otherwise healthy people, complications from flu are most common among very young children and people over 50, as well as people with chronic health conditions and pregnant women.

In addition to vaccination, you can prevent flu and other illness by:

  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discarding the tissue promptly;
  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water or, if they are not available, with an approved hand sanitizer; and
  • Staying home when you are sick. Stay home until you are fever free for at least 24 hours.

“First and foremost, get vaccinated, but also get in the habit of observing and practicing preventive measures and getting your family and friends to do the same,” he said.

For more information on flu and to find out where you can get a flu vaccination in your community, visit www.flu.nc.gov.

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