FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2016
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391
DPHHS: Stay healthy this winter and get the influenza vaccine
The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is encouraging all Montanans 6 months of age and older to get vaccinated now against influenza in order to decrease their risk of becoming ill with the flu.
In Montana, the flu season usually peaks in February and lasts through May. Officials say the vaccine is readily available.
The influenza vaccine is the best form of protection against the flu and provides protection throughout the entire flu season, even when vaccinated in the early fall. The composition of the flu vaccine is reviewed and updated yearly to better match circulating viruses. It is important to remember that the influenza vaccine takes about two weeks to provide protection against the flu.
“Because the flu virus changes quickly and vaccine are changed in response, it is important to get a flu shot every year,” said DPHHS Director Richard Opper. “Getting vaccinated now will help you and those around you to stay healthy this winter.”
Influenza vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, missed work or school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. Last flu season, DPHHS recorded 433 hospitalizations and 33 deaths related to influenza. Of those hospitalized, nearly two-thirds of those individuals were not vaccinated against the flu.
In addition to getting the flu vaccine, everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people, covering your cough and washing your hands with soap and water can reduce the spread of germs. Influenza vaccine is available at doctor offices, county or tribal health departments, and many pharmacies.
“When getting your flu shot, talk to your healthcare professional about other vaccines, such as pneumococcal, pertussis or shingles, which may be right for you,” Opper said.
More information can be found at the DPHHS website: www.flu.mt.gov