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Paynesville Press - November 13, 2002

Health officials urge general public to get their flu shot

November for many Minnesotans is a time for preparation, making the transition to winter: finishing up the fall yard work, cutting wood, putting on storm windows, and winterizing the house and car.

Among those preparations should be getting a flu shot, according to state health officials.

"November is an ideal time to get a flu shot," said Kris Ehresmann of the Minnesota Department of Health. "There's plenty of vaccine this year, many local clinics are ready and waiting for you, and influenza virus hasn't hit the state yet, so if and when it does, you'll be ready."

Earlier this fall, the department recommended that people who are most at risk of complications from influenza get their flu shots in October. Those at risk include people over 65, residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities, those with suppressed immune systems or certain acute or chronic illnesses or conditions, women in their second or third trimester of pregnancy, and children six to 23 months of age.

"Now is the time for adults 50-64 years of age to get vaccinated," said Ehresmann. "For those of use not in the high-risk groups, it is still important to protect ourselves from getting the virus and thus from potentially spreading it to others. It's not too late to do that for anybody six months of age and older."

Some things to remember about influenza:

  • You need a flu shot every year because there are different strains of flu every year.
  • People can die from the flu or from its complications.
  • Flu vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective.
  • You cannot get the flu from the flu shot. However, if you are exposed later to someone with the flu, you may get a mild case of the flu - milder than if you had not gotten your flu shot.

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