[1/3/18] Health Officials Urge Washingtonians To Get Flu Shot

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2018 marks the 100 year anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic which killed an estimated 20 to 50 million people worldwide. Even though medical science has made great strides since then, thousands of people die each year in the U.S. due to influenza and even more globally. Marcus Bellissimo reports. 

Influenza illnesses are increasing and health officials at the Washington State Department of Health urge Washingtonians to get a flu shot now. Officials also want people to avoid spreading the flu and to know when it’s okay to be cared for at home and when they should get medical care. Julie Graham with Communications Office of the Washington Department of Health speaks to the percentage of Washingtonians who have gotten a flu shot this year.

122017 JULIE GRAHAM BITE#1 :09

“….the flu can be very serious.”

How serious can influenza be? Globally, hundreds of thousands die from the flu every year.

122017 JULIE GRAHAM BITE#2 :15

“….the flu is a big killer.”

In Washington State, the Department of Health keeps a close watch on reports of cases of influenza and deaths attributed to influenza from medical and senior care facilities. Again Julie Graham.

122017 JULIE GRAHAM BITE#3 :20

“….populations are often vulnerable.”

Not every flu season is the same. The number of outbreaks and reported deaths can fluctuate greatly from year to year.

122017 JULIE GRAHAM BITE#4 :36

“….quite severe, in some people especially.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms of flu include fever, chills, body aches, and a cough or sore throat. Even though a flu shot may not prevent you from getting the flu, it can go a long way toward shortening its effects.

122017 JULIE GRAHAM BITE#5 :29

“….it’s important to get vaccinated.”

Everyone should get a flu shot but for some groups, the risk of catching the influenza virus is higher according to Julie Graham.

122017 JULIE GRAHAM BITE#6 :22

“… any sort of health condition that’s a chronic one.”

That group also includes pregnant women and those in close contact with high-risk groups, should get a flu shot to protect themselves and the people in their care. While most people who do become ill with flu can be safely cared for at home, there are some symptoms that should trigger immediate emergency care.

122017 JULIE GRAHAM BITE#7 :30

“….symptoms that go away and then come back.

Flu shots are the best way to prevent the flu, and are available at most pharmacies and health care providers. More information on preventing the flu and weekly updates on flu activity in Washington is on the Washington State Dept of Health website.