FRANKFORT, Ky. (9/7/13) – As flu season approaches, Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear are encouraging others to protect themselves by getting flu vaccines. The Governor and First Lady received their influenza vaccinations this week from the Frankfort First Onsite Clinic staff.
“Jane and I know the best way to protect ourselves and our family is to get a flu vaccine each season,” Gov. Beshear said. “The availability and affordability of the vaccine make it easier than ever to protect yourself.”
“I especially encourage parents and school-aged children to get flu shots,” said Mrs. Beshear. “The flu is an easily transmitted virus and this vaccine will help prevent missed sick days at school and work, creating healthier homes and classrooms.”
Manufacturers have begun shipping flu vaccines for the 2013-2014 flu season, and many locations are already administering the vaccination.
Members of the Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan (KEHP) can receive a free vaccine now through November 30 at a variety of participating provider locations, including some doctors’ offices, health clinics, retail pharmacies, local health departments and other participating providers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu shot or nasal vaccine spray for all individuals older than 6 months of age. People who should especially receive the flu vaccine, because they may be at higher risk for complications or negative consequences, include:
• Children age six months to 19 years;
• Pregnant women;
• People 50 years old or older;
• People of any age with chronic health problems;
• People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;
• Health care workers;
• Caregivers of or people who live with a person at high risk for complications from the flu and out-of-home caregivers of or people who live with children less than six months old.
The timing and duration of flu season varies but can begin as early as October and last as late as May. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop and offer protection against flu after receiving a vaccine. Vaccination can be given, however, any time during the flu season. Infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches.
Health officials also urge Kentuckians to practice common sense precautions to prevent illness. Avoid close contact with those who are ill; stay home when sick; cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth; and wash hands frequently.
Through the HumanaVitality® wellness program, KEHP members 18 years of age and older can receive 200 Vitality Points™ when they receive a flu shot. Members younger than 18 who receive a flu shot will earn 100 Vitality Points, plus another 100 points for completing their immunizations.
For more information, visit the following websites:
• http://LivingWell.ky.gov, the wellness site for KEHP members
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) www.cdc.gov
Information provided by the office of Gov. Steve Beshear
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