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FOR RELEASE: December 18 , 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

Flu Bug is Ready to Bite, Vaccine Still Available

Oklahoma State Department of Health officials confirmed today that its influenza sentinel-reporting network is noting an increase in persons with flu-like symptoms. "The flu bug is poised to bite," said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mike Crutcher. "The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get a flu shot."

Crutcher stressed it is not too late to get a flu shot and most county health departments in Oklahoma still have a supply of vaccine. Persons who need a flu shot for themselves or their children should contact their health care provider or their local county health department to learn where flu vaccine is offered in their area.

Although it takes 10 to 14 days to reach full immunity from influenza after getting a flu shot, some immunity does begin shortly after receiving the shot. State health officials have confirmed both influenza type A and B viruses circulating in the state and this year's vaccine protects against both. "You still have a 'window of opportunity' to protect yourself from the flu by getting your flu shot now," Crutcher advised.

Persons in the following risk categories are especially advised to get a flu shot:

  • Children aged 6 to 59 months
  • Women who will be pregnant during influenza season
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, asthma, kidney disease, anemia and other blood disorders, and metabolic diseases such as diabetes
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu

"Influenza can be a serious disease," Crutcher said. "Protect yourself and your loved ones by getting a flu shot. The only thing you want to catch this holiday season is the holiday spirit, not the flu."


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