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The original item was published from 12/12/2012 10:40:36 AM to 1/16/2013 9:03:27 AM.

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Posted on: December 12, 2012

[ARCHIVED] It's Not Too Late to Vaccinate! Get your Flu Shot Now

Flu season has begun already in many parts of the country, but you still have time to get your flu shot. Flu season usually peaks in February and can last until May, and the Norwalk Health Department urges residents to protect themselves and their families by getting vaccinated against influenza now. The vaccine protects against seasonal and H1N1 flu, and everyone older than 6 months is encouraged to be vaccinated.

Residents can get their flu vaccine at the Health Department on Mondays, from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm, while supplies last. No appointment is necessary. Flu shots at the Health Department are covered by Medicare Part B, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and ConnectiCare, as long as clients bring their insurance cards. Otherwise, flu shots cost $25 per person.

The Health Department also offers the high-dose flu vaccine to clients age 65 and over. This high-dose vaccine costs $50 per person and is covered by Medicare Part B. Clients 65 years of age and older can choose to have the high-dose vaccine or the standard seasonal flu vaccine.

If you have a question about the flu vaccine, call your physician. For other questions about getting your flu shot, please call the Norwalk Health Department at 203-854-7776.

More Information About the FluFor millions of people every season, the flu can mean a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed. However, few people realize that more than 200,000 people are actually hospitalized in the United States from flu-related complications such as pneumonia each year.

Anyone can get the flu, but some people are especially urged to protect themselves from the flu because they are at increased risk for serious flu-related complications, including those people with certain medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease), people 65 years and older, and people who live with or care for these higher risk individuals. Pregnant women are also at higher risk for flu-related illnesses and should be immunized against the flu at any time during their pregnancy. The vaccine protects pregnant mothers and their babies for the first 6 months of life, because the antibodies are passed to the baby during pregnancy.

In addition to getting your flu shot, you can take other steps to avoid the flu this year and stay healthy:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands regularly. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Seek care early. See your healthcare provider immediately if you develop flu symptoms. Antiviral medications can help if taken early in the illness.

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