Want to stay healthy during the holiday season? The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) encourages Wisconsinites to get a flu vaccine to help them stay healthy throughout the holiday season. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and the New Year are fast approaching. When visiting with family and friends, the flu vaccine is a great tool to protect yourself and others from becoming ill.

It is important to be mindful of when you are getting your flu vaccine. The Wisconsin DHS recommends getting vaccinated two weeks before gatherings. This will allow your body to build immunity that will help fight off influenza.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Influenza is commonly called the flu, but it’s not the same as stomach ‘flu’ viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting.”

The flu vaccine is safe and effective for those ages six months and older. It is extremely important that individuals who are: younger than 5 years old, over the age of 65, pregnant, or have chronic health conditions become vaccinated. Additionally, by getting the flu vaccine you are helping to protect and avoid spreading influenza to others.

“This year, it is critical to make sure you and your family are protected,” said Dr. Jasmine Zapata, Chief Medical Officer in the DHS Bureau of Community Health Promotion. “Research shows that getting your flu vaccine can reduce rates of hospitalizations, prevent illness and missed work, and save lives – including for children.” 

Vaccine Safety

It is safe to receive the flu vaccine along with the COVID-19 vaccine and others. Vaccines are effective and safe to get alone or with other vaccines. You can find flu and COVID-19 vaccine locations by visiting vaccines.gov or by calling 211.

“I really trust the flu vaccine and Wisconsinites should too,” said Tom Haupt, State Influenza Surveillance Coordinator and DHS  Respiratory Disease Epidemiologist. “Getting vaccinated can mean the difference between staying healthy all winter or missing out on the things you love to do because of flu.”

Preventing the Flu

In addition to getting the flu vaccine, prevent the flu by:

  • washing your hands regularly
  • keeping surfaces clean
  • taking good care of your body
    • getting good sleep
    • drinking plenty of water
    • managing stress
    • exercising regularly

DHS is continuing its “Be an InFLUencer” campaign. The idea is to encourage people to talk to their family and friends about the importance of the flu vaccine.

It is important that every Wisconsinite receives the flu vaccine, but this year the campaign is focused on getting the vaccine to more people who are of color, native, and living in rural areas. These demographics and populations have historically experienced greater rates of severe influenza illness due to structural inequities. The challenges stem from a lack of access to health care services, a higher risk of exposure due to the environment, and higher rates of underlying health conditions.

Coronavirus

Information about COVID-19 can be found on the Racine County Eye. View our Racine County Coronavirus Dashboard for the latest data including Racine County COVID-19 cases and deaths.

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