PA Department of Health Kicks Off National Influenza Immunization Week With Free Flu Shots at Hershey Bears Game

Monday, December 8, 2008 General News
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National Influenza Immunization Week runs Dec. 8 - 14



HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With record amounts of flu vaccine available, the Pennsylvania Department of Health today teamed with the Hershey Bears to offer free flu shots to hockey fans attending the Hershey Bears-Norfolk game at the Giant Center.



"One in six Pennsylvanians comes down with the flu every year, resulting in 8,400 hospitalizations and more than 1,000 deaths," said Deputy Health Secretary Michael Huff. "That is why it is extremely important for everyone -- not just those at greatest risk -- to receive a flu shot."



Rates of serious illness and death are highest among persons over the age of 65. Other high-risk individuals include those with existing medical conditions, children aged 6 months through 23 months, residents of nursing homes, and health care workers.



The influenza vaccine is recommended for:



National Influenza Immunization week is an effort to promote use of the flu vaccine through the winter months. It only takes up to 10 days to build up immunity once you receive the vaccine. Flu cases traditionally peak between January and March.



For more information on influenza, contact the Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH or visit www.health.state.pa.us and click on the immunization link.



-- All children 6 months through 18 years of age; -- People 50 years of age and older, regardless of their medical history; -- People with underlying health conditions such as heart, respiratory, kidney, liver, metabolic and immune system problems; -- People with weakened immune systems such as those with HIV/AIDS, long-term treatment of steroids and cancer treatment with X-rays or drugs; -- People who have cognitive dysfunction and muscle or nerve disorders (such as spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy or seizure disorders) that can lead to difficulties in breathing or swallowing; -- People who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy who, therefore, might be at risk for Reyes syndrome after an influenza infection; -- Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities; -- Women who will be pregnant anytime during the influenza season; -- Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children 0-59 months of age; -- Physicians, nurses, family members or anyone else in close contact with any groups at greatest risk for contracting influenza; and -- Anyone wishing to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill from influenza.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health


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