Health Department Gives Guidance for Flu Season
For Immediate Release: December 8, 2003
Vermont Department of Health
BURLINGTON—An early arrival of the flu across the country has created a higher demand for influenza vaccine, making flu vaccine supplies limited in every state including Vermont. Vermont had two confirmed flu cases in November.
“Fortunately, Vermonters responded to our messages to get their flu shots early,” said State Epidemiologist, Cort Lohff, MD. “Even if you haven’t gotten a vaccine, there are still ways that you can stay healthy during the flu season.”
In addition to being vaccinated against the flu, the following suggestions can be taken to reduce the spread of flu or colds this season:
- Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, put the tissue directly into the trash, and wash your hands thoroughly.
- Wash your hands well with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Rinse and dry hands with a disposable towel.
- Stay home from work or school if you have flu-like symptoms.
- If you have flu-like symptoms, refrain from visiting a nursing home, hospital, or any other place where there are people who are at high risk of complications from the flu. Additionally, refrain from attending gatherings such as parties or sport events.
Flu symptoms can include fever, body aches, tiredness, cough, and sometimes a sore throat and runny nose. Children can also experience fever and vomiting.
“We are encouraging health care providers to vaccinate those who are at higher risk of complications from the flu if they haven’t already done so,” said Dr. Lohff.
People who are at higher risk of influenza complications and who should get a vaccination include:
- All people age 50 and older;
- People 6 months and older who have chronic heart or lung conditions, including asthma, or any other chronic illness that requires regular medical care (for example, diabetes, kidney disease, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection;
- Children and teenagers (aged 6 months to 18 years old) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy;
- Women who will be more than 3 months pregnant between November and March;
- Healthy children 6 to 23 months of age.
The Health Department is continuing its work to get additional vaccine supplies to health care providers for young children via our “Vaccines For Children” provider network.