With the cold weather upon us, the New Jersey Health and Senior Services Commissioner encourages all residents to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza, which each year leads to an estimated 36,000 deaths and 250,000 hospitalizations in the U.S.
Influenza can have serious complications, especially for older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is drawing attention to the importance of continued seasonal flu vaccination through the month of December and beyond.
Vaccinations are recommended for all individuals who want to decrease the risk of influenza. Many groups, including people aged 50 years and older, people with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and pregnant women are at a higher risk for complications from influenza. In addition, health care workers and caregivers of high risk individuals are also at increased risk and should get vaccinated.
The CDC now recommends that all children age 6 to 59 months be vaccinated as they are considered at higher risk for complications and hospitalization.
Along with vaccination, you can reduce the risk of being infected with influenza by washing your hands frequently and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. To reduce the spread of infection, stay home when you are sick, and cover coughs and sneezes.
National Influenza Vaccination Week is a collaboration of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, including the CDC, and the National Influenza Vaccine Summit.