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Flu vaccine offers best defense for people this season

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The State Department of Health urges the public to get a flu vaccine this year to keep themselves and others safe and out of the hospital.

Flu activity may be more common this year compared to last year because the closures that were in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have been lifted, according to an Oct. 18 state Department of Health news release. People are more active and mobile. Many adults have returned to in-person work and most children are back in school.

“Preventing the spread of flu will be critical in the months to come because it will reduce additional strain on our hospitals, which are currently extremely stressed due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, chief science officer for the state Department of Health. “If you haven’t received your flu vaccine yet, now is the perfect time. It will help protect you, your family and friends, and your community as we get back to doing the things we love.”

Everyone six months of age and older should get an annual flu vaccine, according to the news release. Young children, pregnant people, those with underlying health conditions, and people ages 65 and older are at high risk for flu-related complications.

The flu is a highly contagious disease that can cause mild to severe illness, and lead to hospitalization and death – even in healthy, young people. Getting a flu vaccine reduces your chance of getting the flu, and it can be safely given at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine.

Flu illness is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Each year, millions of children get sick with seasonal flu, thousands are hospitalized, and some children die from flu. Across Washington, the flu vaccine, and all recommended childhood vaccines, are available at no cost for children from birth through age 18.

For weekly flu activity reports, educational materials, vaccine information, and other flu prevention resources, visit KnockOutFlu.org.

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