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By Robyn Thaw                     Follow East Palo Alto Today on
October 10, 2014                     Facebook    Twitter         Blog    
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Photo of vaccination supplies
Courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net
Photo of medicine vials and syringe

Flu season is unpredictable and this year, flu season came early. San Mateo County health officials urge everyone six months and older to get vaccinated early this year.

“A flu shot early in the season increases your chances of staying healthy,” said Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County Health Officer. “The flu vaccine is safe and can prevent flu-related illness, hospitalization and even death. It’s the best defense against the flu.”

Because the vaccine takes two weeks to become fully effective, residents should get a flu shot as soon as possible. The vaccine keeps you fully protected for about one year, so it’s important to get vaccinated every year.

While everyone six months and older should get vaccinated, it is especially important that pregnant women, children younger than five, adults 65 and older, and those with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes, all get vaccinated.

Healthy people should also get a flu shot to avoid getting sick and to protect others by staying healthy. The flu is not fun for anyone but it’s important to remember that the flu can be very serious. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 24,000 people die each year in the U.S. due to complications from the flu and another 200,000 are hospitalized.

People are encouraged to contact their health care provider to get their flu shot. The vaccine is also available at pharmacies, retail stores, and offered by some employers. For people who do not have a health care provider or insurance, the Health System and community organizations offer free flu vaccine at clinics throughout the county. No appointment is necessary for these clinics, and no I.D. is required.

For more information about the flu, on where you can get your flu shot and see a schedule of community vaccine clinics in San Mateo County, visit www.smchealth.org/flu, or call the flu hotline at (650) 573-3927.

The above article is a release issued by Robyn Thaw, who is the public information and communications officer for the San Mateo County Health System.