Health Officials Urge Nevadans to Get Flu Vaccinations - 8 News NOW

Health Officials Urge Nevadans to Get Flu Vaccinations

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LAS VEGAS - Flu season is rapidly approaching in southern Nevada. That's why the Southern Nevada Health District is urging people to get their flu shots.

This year's shot protects against four strains of influenza. Health officials say this is extremely important, because flu viruses constantly evolve.

Learn More About Flu Shots Offered by the Health District 

Southern Nevada Health District epidemiologist Linh Nguyen says the new flu shot means more protection.

"There are many flu strains that go around every year, and usually the flu vaccine is made up of strains that experts think will circulate widely in the upcoming flu seasons," she said. "When it protects against four strains, it protects against one more. So, it'll give you more coverage."

Doctors say as long as you are in contact with other people you are vulnerable to the disease. The Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone get vaccinated, but the CDC says vaccines are especially important for people with medical conditions, pregnant women, people younger than 5 years of age and people older than 65 years of age.

Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine

The sooner you get the vaccine, the better, because the CDC says the flu can strike as early as October.

Health officials say, in addition to getting vaccinated, people can protect themselves from contracting the flu in other ways. The CDC says you should avoid sick people and stay home if you are sick. It is also important to wash your hands regularly and clean and disinfect areas where germs are likely to spread.

University Medical Center nurse Lori Conti says children are at the greatest risk, because they are more likely to spread germs.

"Children can get really sick from the flu, so it's a really good idea to start vaccinating children six months and up," she said. "They're most likely to spread it also to the rest of us, so it's a great idea to get children vaccinated."

UMC officials say they see countless flu patients each year. Conti says it could be because of misconceptions about the flu shot. One misconception is the flu vaccine will give people the flu. The CDC says this is not possible, since the vaccine does not contain live and/or infectious flu viruses.

If you don't like needles, the flu vaccine is also available in a nasal spray. The Health District offers various flu vaccines starting at $40.

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