Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Flu cases appearing; vaccination still effective and available

With the first few cases of influenza starting to appear locally, U-M Chief Health Officer Dr. Robert Winfield stresses that it still is not too late to get vaccinated against the flu.


Get vaccinated

• Seasonal flu vaccine is available at University Health Service. The cost is $38 for everyone.
Click here to schedule a vaccination appointment online and for more information.

In the past week, Washtenaw County Public Health Department officials have reported 10 positive cases in Washtenaw residents. All of the cases but one were in adults aged 18-68 years. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to prevent influenza is to receive a seasonal flu shot. This year's seasonal flu vaccine provides protection against three different strains of influenza virus, including the 2009 H1N1 virus.

"Overall flu activity this season has been much lower compared to the previous season," Winfield says. "But as we enter peak flu season, it is still important to protect yourself."

Vaccination is particularly important for high-risk groups, including children, those 65 years old and older, pregnant women and anyone with an underlying condition that can weaken the immune system. The CDC also recommends that because children younger than 6 months cannot be vaccinated, their caregivers and entire family should receive the shot.

As a reminder, one of the most important things for everyone to do is to take seriously common-sense precautions, Winfield says.

That includes:

• Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly using soap or hand sanitizer.

• Avoid directly touching your nose and eyes.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve, not your hand, when you cough or sneeze.

• Use tissues and dispose of them properly.

The CDC defines flu-like illness as a fever of 100.4 Fahrenheit or greater, plus a cough or sore throat and possibly other symptoms like runny nose, body aches, headaches, chills, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhea.