Fall is in full swing and the first cases of influenza has been confirmed in the Omaha area.
“Because of that, we are reminding everyone six months of age and older that vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and those around you from the flu,” Douglas County Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said.
Dr. Pour says it is especially important for pregnant women to be vaccinated, since they are at a much higher risk of complications from the flu. Not only will it protect the mother, the immunization is passed on to the baby for about the first six months of life when they will then be able to be able to receive vaccine.
People who are at risk of developing serious flu complications, such as pneumonia, also are recommended to get the vaccine. Those include individuals aged 65 and over, plus anyone with asthma, diabetes, or chronic lung disease. Anyone 65 years of age or older is encouraged to quickly seek medical advice if they have flu-like symptoms.
“This year’s vaccine is not the same as last year’s,” Dr. Pour said. “Because the flu virus is always changing, it is important that you receive the new vaccine.”
The vaccine takes about two weeks to provide protection. Flu season generally runs into April, if not longer.
The 2012-2013 seasonal flu vaccine is available at doctor’s offices and pharmacies throughout Douglas County, and contains protection against the strain of H1N1 that caused the 2009 pandemic. It does not include the H3N2v strain of swine flu.