Wrapping presents. Decorating the house. Visiting family and friends. With the holiday season upon us and the fact that the flu virus has officially arrived in Rhode Island this year, the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) strongly encourages anyone who has not already received a flu shot this season to do so as soon as possible. Flu is a serious disease and can result hospitalizations or death – especially for the elderly, pregnant women or for anyone with a chronic long-term health condition or a weakened immune system. This year’s flu vaccine protects against H1N1 flu and seasonal flu.
“Many people travel to see family and friends during the holidays,” said Gifford. “Children are one of the primary spreaders of flu virus, so we recommend that all children age six months and older get vaccinated. When children are vaccinated, there is a double benefit of keeping children healthy and preventing the spread of the flu virus no other family members. After you get a flu shot, it takes your body about 7-10 days to develop immunity to flu viruses, so getting vaccinated now will help to protect you before the holidays and before the brunt of the flu season illnesses are here.”
Flu vaccine for children, adolescents, and adults is available in provider offices, at pharmacies, at public clinics, and at school-based flu vaccination clinics. (Some children may need a second dose of flu vaccine.) For a list of public flu clinics, visit: http://www.health.ri.gov/flu/about/clinics/public/index.php. For general information about the flu or flu vaccine, call the HEALTH Information Line at 401-222-5960 RI Relay 711 or visit http://www.health.ri.gov/flu