Influenza (flu) is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. Every year, between 5 and 20% of Americans are infected, 225,000 are hospitalized due to pneumonia and other complications of infection, and 24,000 die from the disease.
There are several groups especially at risk:
The Very Young or Old
People with Chronic Diseases of the Heart, Lungs, Blood, or Kidneys
People with Asthma
People with Diabetes
People with Weakened Immune Systems
The single best way to avoid catching the flu is to get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that every American ages 6 months and up receive the influenza vaccine. Vaccination is safe, effective, and fast. In addition to all the benefits that vaccination offers, the Baltimore City Health Department makes the vaccine widely available free of charge. The department also has preservative-free vaccine for infants ages 6-35 months.
Remember: Vaccinate against the flu for a happier, healthier you!
Where Can I Get Flu Protection?
BCHD and Action for Community Enrichment (ACE) are hosting FREE flu clinics around the city! Download the Free Flu Shot 2012 Schedule and post at your school or workplace. Or, check our BCHD calendar in the right column for clinic times and locations.
Additionally, BCHD offers free flu shots and flu mist at our regularly scheduled immunization clinics Monday through Thursday. Check our TIKE IMMUNIZATION CLINIC SCHEDULEfor the latest clinic days/times, or call 311.
If you receive Medicare, you are encouraged to bring your Medicare Card. However, you can still receive the vaccine without the card.
How to Prevent Transmission of the Flu Virus
Get the flu vaccine! The vaccine is the best way to prevent the spread of flu.
Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands often and well. Use soap and water, washing for at least 20 seconds (hum "Happy Birthday" twice) and dry with a clean towel or paper towel. Or, use an alcohol-based sanitizer, rubbing until your hands are dry. Wash your hands after a cough or sneeze, after using the bathroom, before eating and after contact with someone who is ill.
Cough and sneeze into a sleeve or tissue. Throw the tissue away after use and remember to wash your hands.
Keep your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
Stay home when you're sick, especially when a fever and cough are present. If possible, stay home from work, school and errands.