It’s Not Too Late to Vaccinate. Fight the Flu!
December 4-10 is National Influenza Vaccination Week
The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reminds New Mexicans that it’s not too late to get vaccinated against the flu as both colds and the flu tends to spread more during cold weather months.
“Flu season most often peaks between December and March, but activity can occur as late as May,”
said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “As long as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late for New Mexicans to get vaccinated.”
A yearly flu vaccine remains the best way to protect from influenza. Patients who still need a flu shot should talk to their doctor, or visit other healthcare providers such as their pharmacist. Most pharmacies have plenty of vaccine available and there is often no appointment needed.
Public Health Offices offer vaccinations for people without insurance or who are otherwise not able to get vaccinated. Those with Medicaid or other insurance who go to Public Health Offices are asked to bring their insurance card.
Even if you think you already had the flu this season, it is recommended everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine. The flu vaccine protects against multiple strains of flu that may be circulating at any given time, and people can get infected with more than one type of flu during the season. NMDOH also recommends that you ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you need the pneumococcal vaccine which can be given at the same time as flu vaccine. Influenza frequently causes types of pneumonia that can be prevented by the pneumococcal vaccine.
“Getting the flu vaccine is simple, and it’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu,” said Gallagher. “We are encouraging people who have not yet been vaccinated this season to get vaccinated now.”
People in high-risk groups and those who live with or care for high risk individuals are especially encouraged to get vaccinated against the flu. People in high-risk groups are at increased risk for having serious flu‐related complications, such as hospitalization and death. People in these groups should also consider seeing their healthcare provider to be evaluated for antiviral medications if they develop flu symptoms. Flu symptoms may include rapid illness onset with fever, cough, sore throat, headache, and/or muscle aches.
Influenza vaccination is highly recommended for the following high risk groups:
- Pregnant women (any trimester) and up to two-weeks post-partum.
- Children younger than 5 but especially children younger than 2-years old.
- People age 65 and older.
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and lung or heart disease and those with immunosuppression from medication or disease.
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including healthcare personnel and caregivers of babies younger than 6 months.
- American Indians and Alaskan Natives.
- People who are morbidly obese.
To find out more about flu vaccination clinics throughout New Mexico, you can call the Immunization Hotline toll free at 1-800-232-4636 or visit the Influenza Vaccinations section of our website.
We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact Paul Rhien at 505-470-2290 (Office) with your questions.
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