This year’s National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 5 – 11, a time when we like to remind you to stay protected in the winter months ahead. The flu (influenza) is a contagious disease that can be severe. According to the CDC, almost every year, the flu causes disease in millions of people, hundreds of thousands get hospitalized, and tens of thousands die because of the flu. The CDC urges you to take the following measures to protect yourself and others from the flu.
Step 1: You and your family should get vaccinated! The first and most important step to protect yourself against flu viruses is getting a flu vaccine each year. People ages six months and older are advised to get a flu vaccine.
Flu vaccines are offered at all seven Heritage Valley ConvenientCare locations. No appointment needed... just walk in! Please click here for a list of our ConvenientCare locations.
Note: ConvenientCare will provide flu vaccines to patients ages 3 years and older, provided they have received a flu vaccine in a prior year. For first-time flu vaccines, please contact your Heritage Valley health care provider. Heritage Valley Pediatrics offers flu vaccines to all patients ages 6 months and older, regardless of a previous dose.
Step 2: Avoid any close contact with sick people; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or paper towel when coughing or sneezing; wash your hands frequently (with soap and water); and clean and sanitize surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with the flu viruses.
Step 3: If you catch the flu, ask your physician about antiviral drugs, which can alleviate the symptoms and shorten the duration of the disease. They can also prevent severe flu complications, such as pneumonia. The CDC recommends the use of antiviral drugs during the early stages of treatment for people who are very sick from the flu (such as people who are hospitalized) and those who are at high risk of severe complications, due to their age or having a high-risk condition.