Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: December 7, 2011
Influenza is not the gift you want to give this holiday season. Unfortunately, many people remain unvaccinated and are therefore open to catching the flu as they move through crowds of shoppers, travelers at rest stops and visit with loved ones. National Influenza Immunization Week, Dec. 4-10, serves as a timely reminder that everyone should get a flu shot.
"Typically the flu season will peak in January or February, and can last as late as May," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH Director. "So now is a very good time for those 6 months of age and older to get vaccinated against the flu if they have not already done so. "
For the 2010-2011 season, DPH administered 5,338 influenza vaccinations. To date for the 2011-2012 season, the total vaccinations administered stands at 3,812. An annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older and is available by shot or nasal spray. See your health provider or pharmacy for availability. Those without a primary care provider and/or without medical insurance can contact DPH at 1-800-282-8672.
Only one flu case has been confirmed so far this year in Delaware, but that number is likely to rise in the coming weeks. Delaware had 1,470 confirmed cases of flu for the 2010-2011 flu season and 2,247 cases the year before. These numbers probably grossly underrepresent the number of Delawareans infected with the influenza virus because many people ill with influenza-like symptoms do not seek medical care and those that do may not get tested for influenza.
Symptoms of influenza may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches and fatigue. Illness may lead to time lost from work or school. Worse, 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States from flu complications such as pneumonia each year. The flu can be deadly, and kills an average of 36,000 people each year.
Getting a flu vaccination is especially important for those at risk for serious flu complications, such as:
For more information, visit www.flu.delaware.gov
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.