Have you noticed how many people have been sick this winter? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the number of influenza cases is higher than normal at this time of year, and that the most common strain is associated with more severe illness. The good news: Most of those nasty viruses in the air are well-matched to the influenza vaccine that is recommended for everyone over six months old.
The bad news: Not everyone has gotten a flu shot. In fact, only about one in three adults gets vaccinated each year against the flu, says Rick Kozin, director of the Polk County (Iowa) Health Department.
“While the strain that is circulating can make people sicker, we can still reduce the number of people getting sick by each of us getting vaccinated, staying home when sick, and washing our hands,” he stated in a press release on the department’s website. “When a high percentage of the community has been vaccinated against a contagious disease like influenza, it is very difficult for it to spread from person to person.”
So here are two things you should do right now: First, get a flu shot if you haven’t. If you live in Polk County, flu shots are available at the health department on a walk-in basis Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Tuesday until 7 p.m. Bring your insurance card – but also know that no one will be turned away because of an inability to pay.
Second, please help the Polk County Health Department learn more about how people think about flu vaccinations by clicking on the link to take a brief survey. It takes about 30 seconds, but your help will enable the department better understand views on the vaccination and ways to motivate more people to get it, enhancing their health and that of the public.
Here’s to your flu-free good health this winter!