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Getting a flu shot now can still be effective

LOCKPORT – The Niagara County Department of Health reminds residents that it’s not too late to get a flu shot. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that flu vaccination efforts continue throughout the influenza season, which normally peaks between December and March.

“To prevent flu, individuals should get their flu shot every year and practice routine hand-washing,” said Daniel J. Stapleton, Niagara County public health director.

For millions of people every season, the flu means cough, fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue and days spent in bed. It is a contagious illness that can spread quickly from one person to another through coughs or sneezes. You can also get the flu if you touch an object or surface with flu virus on it and then touch your mouth or nose. Flu can cause mild to severe illness, and at times, can lead to death.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. Children 6 months through 8 years of age will require two doses of flu vaccine 28 days apart for adequate protection if this is the first time they are getting a flu vaccine. Children younger than 6 months of age have a higher risk of flu complications than older children, so it’s important that members of their households and their caregivers are vaccinated.

Others at high risk for serious flu-related complications are pregnant women, people 65 years of age and older and people who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease.

The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. It stimulates the body to produce antibodies that protect from the flu viruses. Once you get the flu vaccine, it takes about two weeks for it to be fully effective, and until then you’re still at risk for getting the flu.

For more information, talk to your doctor or call the county immunization line at 278-1903.

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