The flu (influenza) virus has hit Rhode Island hard this year, with the number of doctor’s office visits for flu-like illness noticeably higher this winter than last, and still on the rise.
The flu is at best unpleasant to cope with, and at worst, potentially fatal — nothing to mess around with. Did you know that if you haven’t been vaccinated yet for the 2016/2017 flu season, it’s not too late?
The Rhode Island Department of Health encourages everyone over the age of 6 months to get vaccinated annually. There are certain groups of people for whom vaccination is especially important, including:
- anyone over 50
- anyone living in a group or nursing home
- anyone with a chronic health condition or weak immune system (including heart/lung/kidney disease, diabetes, anemia, or asthma)
And of course, if you care for someone who falls into one of those categories, it’s important to get vaccinated as well, in order to prevent passing illness on to someone who is susceptible, and also to avoid being sick and unable to care for yourself or loved ones who depend on your help.
Although community flu shot clinics have mostly tapered off for the season (check the Ocean State Immunization Collaborative Facebook page for upcoming clinics), you can get a flu shot at your doctor’s office, many pharmacies, and other places throughout Rhode Island (click here for a full list).
Even though most folks get immunized in the fall, remember that flu season can last until May, so getting the shot now is still wise.