FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2017
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391
DPHHS: Fight flu – get your family vaccinated this season
The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is encouraging all Montanans 6 months of age and older to fight flu and get vaccinated now against influenza in order to decrease their risk of becoming ill.
In Montana, the flu season usually peaks in January and lasts through May; however, flu outbreaks can be unpredictable. It is best to get vaccinated before the influenza virus starts circulating. Officials say the vaccine is now 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.
“Everyone is at risk for complications of the flu,” said DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan. “Getting vaccinated now will help not only you, but those around you.”
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 829 hospitalizations and 56 deaths related to influenza. It is not too early to get vaccinated, in recent weeks, sporadic cases of influenza have been reported from Cascade, Flathead, Lewis and Clark, and Jefferson counties, as well as travel-related cases in Missoula and Yellowstone counties.
In addition to getting the flu vaccine, everyday preventive actions including staying away from people who are sick, 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.
“Talk to your healthcare professional if you have questions about the flu vaccine and if there are other vaccines that are recommended for you,” Hogan said.
More information can be found at the DPHHS website: www.flu.mt.gov