Steuben Public Health urges residents to get flu shots

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FILE – In this Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. The flu forecast is cloudy and it’s too soon to know if the U.S. is in for a third miserable season in a row, but health officials said Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 not to delay vaccination. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

BATH, N.Y. (WETM) — With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting as many as 42.9 million people had the flu between October 2018 and May 2019, the Steuben County Public Health Department urges residents to get their flu shots now.

“We already have had one report of the flu this September,” said county Public Health Director Darlene Smith. Each year, the CDC issues a strong recommendation for pregnant women to receive flu shots. Pregnant women have more than double the risk of hospitalization due to flu complications compared to other women of childbearing age if they get influenza, the CDC reported recently.

However, getting a flu shot reduces a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized due to influenza by an average of 40 percent according to the CDC. The vaccine also protects babies after birth when they are too young to be vaccinated themselves, the CDC said. “It takes about two weeks for a flu shot to build full protection, so it is important to get the flu shot early in the season to be fully protected by the time flu cases peak,” Smith said. The annual flu shot is especially important for people at high risk of serious flu complications, including young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease, and people aged 65 years and older.

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