STATE — New Jersey Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh visited a pediatric flu clinic this week to highlight the importance of getting a flu shot and practicing good hygiene habits to reduce the spread of flu, colds and respiratory illnesses. During her visit to the flu clinic, Dr. Alaigh spoke with several children about how the flu is spread and how critical vaccination is to staying healthy.
“Vaccination is the best protection against the flu,” Dr. Alaigh said. “There is plenty of vaccine available and when you’re vaccinated, you protect your health and your family’s health.”
This year’s flu shot includes the H1N1 strain, so residents only need to receive one flu vaccination.
Flu vaccine is recommended for all individuals who want to decrease the risk of influenza. This year is the first year that the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended everyone over the age of six months get a flu immunization. Many groups, including people age 50 years and older; people with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes; and pregnant women are at higher risk for complications from influenza. Health care workers and caregivers of high-risk individuals are also at increased risk and should get vaccinated.
“It is especially important for the young, the elderly and health care workers to get flu shots to protect themselves and their families,” said Dr. Alaigh. “These populations are most vulnerable to the flu and its complications.”
Along with vaccination, Dr. Alaigh emphasized that there are other steps to take to prevent the spread of illness:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Stay home if you are sick.
For information about seasonal flu, visit the DHSS website at www.nj.gov/health/flu.
Residents interested in getting an influenza vaccination can click on the “Find a Flu Shot” button on the DHSS Flu web page.
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