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FOR RELEASE: January 25, 2002
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Last Call for Flu Shot

Did you get your flu shot this winter or did early reports of not enough vaccine scare you away from your health care provider? It’s not too late to get that shot, advise Oklahoma State Department of Health officials.

Historically in Oklahoma, February is the month with the highest incidence of flu. It takes some 10 to 14 days to reach full immunity from influenza after getting the flu shot, although some immunity does begin shortly after receiving the shot. State health officials say local health departments still have sufficient quantities of vaccine available to any individual who is interested in reducing their chance of getting the flu.

Health officials also recommend pneumococcal vaccine for persons who are 65 years of age or older, or who have heart or lung problems or diabetes. This vaccine, commonly called the “pneumonia shot,” is available at physicians’ offices and county health departments.

The state health department’s influenza surveillance system reports an increase in flu-like illness during the last two weeks, although these numbers are still considered sporadic. Most of the recently diagnosed cases have been in Tulsa County.

Health officials say reports of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) illnesses are also increasing. RSV symptoms are similar to influenza. RSV is especially common in young children and may lead to croup, bronchitis, pneumonia or middle ear infections. Frequent handwashing and covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing can help prevent the spread of RSV and other respiratory viruses.

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