As you spend your post-Thanksgiving days recovering from turkey over-indulgence and shopping for bargains, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is hoping you will take time to consider something more serious: your annual flu shot.
To increase the number of Americans who receive their seasonal flu shot, CDC officials have declared Nov. 27 to Dec. 3 as "National Influenza Vaccination Week." (http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/r061113.htm) The event will help spread the word that it's not too late to receive a seasonal flu shot and encourage health providers to schedule vaccine clinics, extend clinic hours and hold mass vaccinations at retail stores and other locations.
While most people think of October as the time to receive flu shots, people can receive their shots during November, December and early next year and still be protected from the flu, according to CDC.
"It is a good idea to check now with your provider or your health officials to determine where and when vaccine is expected in your community and get ready to step up to the plate and get vaccinated," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, CDC's director. "We want you to go to your holiday gatherings with your good food and your gifts and your good cheer and not with the flu virus."
Despite some early distribution problems, CDC officials report that 77 million flu vaccine doses have been distributed this year and vaccine supply is expected to reach an all-time high. For the first time, CDC is recommending that children ages 24 months to 59 months be vaccinated, as they are considered at risk for flu complications. Each year, about 36,000 Americans die of the flu.
More information on flu and flu vaccine is online at www.cdc.gov/flu. To find a flu shot clinic in your area, use the American Lung Association's Flu Clinic Locator, online at http://www.flucliniclocator.org/.