Help fight the flu with vaccinations

WY Dept. of Health: “Don’t wait”

Because annual flu vaccinations are a key tool to prevent the spread of influenza, a Wyoming Department of Health official is reminding Wyoming residents of the vaccine’s importance.
Dr. Tracy Murphy, state epidemiologist with the Wyoming Department of Health, said getting immunized is the single most effective thing most people can do to help prevent getting ill with influenza or spreading it to others. “The message is simple: almost everyone who is six months or older should get a flu vaccine,” he said.
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches.
“We know influenza leads to hospitalizations and even death in some people every year,” Murphy continued. “Flu vaccines can help you protect yourself from illness and can help you avoid spreading the flu to others.”
“Healthy people get the flu too,” Murphy said. “They may be able to recover, but they still can miss school or work. They can also pass on the illness to others who may not be able to bounce back easily.”
Murphy said influenza vaccines are available in many locations, including local public health offices, doctors’ offices and retail stores. “While overall supplies are expected to be ample, it’s a good idea to check ahead about when and where immunizations are being offered for you and your family,” he said.
“The price for flu vaccines is quite reasonable. Getting immunized is a good investment,” Murphy said. Murphy noted that many insurance policies reimburse patients for their vaccine costs.
In Wyoming, the cost of the vaccine itself is covered for some children through the Wyoming Vaccinates Important People (WyVIP) program. Children who qualify include those covered by Medicaid, uninsured children, American Indian or Alaska native children and some children considered to be underinsured.
Murphy encouraged people not to wait for their vaccine. “Flu vaccines can take several days to become effective so it is not a good idea to wait until people around you are already ill,” he said.