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Time to get flu vaccine

Michigan residents are being urged by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to get flu vaccines to protect themselves from potentially life-threatening influenza amidst the first confirmed cases in the state.

“Now is the time to get their flu immunization to make sure they are protected from the flu season,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for MDHHS.

“The flu should be taken seriously because it can have serious and even deadly consequences.”

Three Michigan residents tested positive for seasonal influenza—the Influenza A (H1N1) virus—in late August. A resident who attended a conference in Grand Rapids and two family members tested positive for the virus after approximately 120 attendees of the conference reported illnesses. Testing is ongoing in Michigan and in other states, as attendees of the conference were from around the country.

An annual flu vaccination is the best way to prevent getting the flu and its complications.

The flu is a contagious respiratory virus that often causes fever, sore throat, cough, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and fatigue. People already infected with the flu can spread the virus to others even before they feel sick.

Everyone 6 months of age and older should receive a flu vaccine every year.

While most people who get influenza recover, others may develop more serious complications. It is especially important that children, adults ages 65 years and older, persons with chronic health conditions, and pregnant women get vaccinated against the flu. Flu vaccination for pregnant women protects both the mother and the unborn child.

Influenza outbreaks associated with settings where people have close, prolonged contact, such as long-term care facilities, schools, college dorms, and conferences, are not uncommon during the influenza season and can even occur during times of low influenza virus circulation, such as during the summer.

Influenza testing should be considered when a patient has signs and symptoms, regardless of the season.

With many young people heading to college, it’s a good idea to get a flu vaccine before heading to campus.

There is no way to know when flu activity will be widespread in communities, which is why Michigan residents should get vaccinated against the flu now before they are exposed to a flu virus. It takes about two weeks to be fully protected after vaccination.

For more information about vaccinations in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/immunize and www.michigan.gov/flu. To find a vaccine near you, visit http://vaccine.healthmap.org/.

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