Nashville, TN – The holidays are almost here, a time to be with family and friends, but it’s also cold and flu season.
Influenza-like illnesses are slowly increasing across the Volunteer State and the Tennessee Department of Health encourages all Tennesseans who have not yet received a flu vaccine to get one now.
“Getting a flu vaccine is a simple thing you can do to protect you and your family from getting sick this winter,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “The flu can be very dangerous and every year too many Tennesseans die from this common illness.”
The holidays create opportunities to spread illness where groups of people gather, so it’s important to protect yourself from the flu before the celebrations begin. In Tennessee the highest numbers of influenza cases are typically reported in January and February.
“We recommend annual flu vaccination for everyone over the age of six months,” said Kelly Moore, MD, MPH, director of the Tennessee Immunization Program. “Influenza can be especially dangerous to the elderly, pregnant women and very young children because their immune systems are different from the normal healthy adult.”
After your flu vaccination, it’s still important to practice good health habits to protect yourself from the flu and other winter viruses, and to prevent spreading them to others if you do get sick.
Good health habits include frequent hand washing with soapy water or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and covering coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or tissue. People who are sick should stay home to recover to prevent spreading illness to co-workers, friends and others.
Flu vaccines are widely available across Tennessee from a number of sources and take only a few minutes to receive. Contact your health care provider about flu vaccine locations near you, or visit the Vaccine Finder available at http://flushot.healthmap.org/.
About the Tennessee Department of Health
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments.
Learn more about TDH services and programs at http://health.state.tn.us/.