For Immediate Release: Jan. 21, 2011
Media Contact: Communication Office
BURLINGTON – Flu is on the rise, with influenza-like illness now widespread in Vermont, as it has been in New York and other parts of the country. All three strains of the flu seen nationwide have been detected in Vermont.
The Vermont Department of Health continues to urge everyone age 6 months and older to get vaccinated.
“Our concern throughout the flu season is those Vermonters who are unprotected and need to be reminded – flu is a serious but preventable illness,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD.
Vermont had one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation last year (nearly a third of the state’s population) in response to the emergence of H1N1 flu. Even if you were vaccinated against H1N1 flu last year, you still need to be protected again this year.
“Getting vaccinated is still the best way to keep from getting and spreading flu,” said Dr. Chen.
The Health Department also provided guidance this week to Vermont health care providers on who should be tested for flu, and the use of anti-viral medication to lessen the severity and duration of illness.
Vaccine supply is plentiful in Vermont and nationally, and one dose protects against all three strains of influenza. An estimated 160 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed in the U.S., more than has ever been available in a single season.
In addition to being vaccinated against the flu, taking the following simple precautions can help keep illness from spreading:
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away.
- Wash your hands often, especially after you cough or sneeze.
- Use alcohol-based hand wipes and gel sanitizers if soap and water are not available.
- Stay home from work or school if you are sick.
The Vermont Department of Health provides influenza vaccine to health care providers for children 6 months through 18 years old.
For more information about flu, dial 2-1-1 or go the Health Department’s website at www.healthvermont.gov, where you can also link to the Health Department’s Facebook page, YouTube channel, Twitter feed and more.