ANDOVER — With an increase number of flu diagnoses in the state in the last few weeks, Andover Health Division would like to remind residents that there are still flu vaccines available.
Vaccines are available for all age groups, including the High Dose vaccine for those 65 and older. Please contact the Andover Health Division at 978-623-8640 to arrange for an appointment.
Residents can also receive the vaccine from their health care provider or local pharmacy.
The number of cases in Massachusetts is higher than the same week in the previous two years. Last year, roughly 35,500,000 Americans experienced flu-like symptoms.
The vaccine is updated each year based on which influenza viruses scientists believe will be most prevalent. During the 2016-2017 season, the vaccine is estimated to have prevented 5.3 million illnesses, 2.6 million medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations.
The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses, as it designed to:
- Decrease the chances of experiencing severe symptoms and speed up your recovery if you do get sick.
- Protect people who are at greater risk of getting seriously ill from flu, such as children younger than 2 years old, adults 65 and older, pregnant women (and those up to two weeks postpartum), and people with chronic health conditions. Vaccination also is important for health care workers and other people who live with or care for high risk people.
- Protect those who cannot be vaccinated, due to medical reasons, from getting sick.
The Andover Health Division would also like to remind residents of other steps they can take to prevent the flu, courtesy the CDC:
- Avoid close contact with those who you believe may be ill.
- Wash your hands often and regularly. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
- If you feel sick, stay home in order to prevent spreading the flu to others.
- Practice other healthy habits, such as disinfecting surfaces regularly, drinking water, getting enough sleep, exercising, managing your food and eating healthy foods.