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Vaccine targets 3 viruses

Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) officials remind residents that everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine.

Vaccine is available at your local pharmacy, family doctor and grocery stores throughout suburban Cook County. The 2012-13 flu vaccine will protect against the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. These are an influenza A (H1N1) virus, influenza A (H3N2) virus and influenza B virus.

“Although flu activity is low right now at the start of the season, activity is expected to increase and residents need to protect themselves by getting a flu shot,” said CCDPH interim chief operating officer Sandra Martell, RN, DNP. “Young children, pregnant women, individuals with a weakened immune system and people aged 65 years and older are at a higher risk for complications from the flu. Protect yourself and those around you and get vaccinated, today.”

In addition to getting vaccinated, residents should practice the three C’s to limit the spread of the influenza virus.

  • Clean — properly wash your hands frequently
  • Cover — cover your cough and sneeze
  • Contain — contain your germs by staying home if you are sick

Influenza is a virus that affects the respiratory system and is spread primarily when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms of the flu virus can range from mild to life-threatening and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. The flu can be particularly dangerous to the elderly or people with chronic illness who can’t fight the debilitating effects of the virus.

To get a seasonal flu vaccine, residents in suburban Cook County should contact their family doctor, visit their local pharmacist or attend a public vaccination clinic. For a list of available vaccination clinics in suburban Cook County, visit cookcountypublichealth.org.