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Still time to get flu shot

It's not too late to get a flu shot, according to the Erie County Health Department.

The incidence of flu is low right now in Western New York, but health officials, in marking the start of National Influenza Vaccination Week, said it's expected to rise during the winter as it usually does every year.

“Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine by the end of December, if possible. Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older,” Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said.

The health department offered these other tips on preventing catching the flu:

• Teach children how to properly wash their hands
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people
• If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to prevent spreading infection
• If you are sick with flu symptoms, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (except to get medical care or for other necessities)
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; throw the tissue in the trash after you use it
• Wash your hands often with soap and water (hum “Happy Birthday” twice to ensure you have washed them thoroughly!)
• If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth--germs spread this way
• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu

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