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City Communications Office
City of Kansas City, Mo.

www.kcmo.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 2, 2012

Mayor and Health Department encourage residents to get annual flu shots

Mayor Sly James met with members of the media today at the City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department to encourage residents in Kansas City to get their flu vaccine every year.

“You don’t just get your flu shot to protect yourself,” said Mayor James, who also got his flu shot today. “When you’ve been vaccinated for influenza, you are far less likely to spread the flu to others around you, so everyone benefits when you take this step to help prevent the flu.”

Flu vaccination, which protects against the top three strains of flu that research indicates will likely cause the most illness this season, is one of several important tools that should be used to fight the flu. Frequent hand-washing, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or an elbow and staying home when sick can also help prevent the spread of the flu.

“Sometimes we forget that we can spread the flu virus for up to 24 hours before we start to feel sick, so even if you do all the other healthy behaviors but don’t get vaccinated, you can still spread the flu without knowing it,” said Dr. Rex Archer, director of the Health Department. “It’s important to both get the flu shot and practice these other healthy behaviors to prevent the spread of the flu in our community.”

Every year, the flu sickens thousands locally, sending many to hospital emergency departments; for some, the flu is fatal. Health Department research indicates that on average more than 60 people die each year of influenza or pneumonia in Kansas City, Mo.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu every year. Though flu activity around the nation is still relatively mild, the flu season typically starts in October, and flu activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks or months. The flu vaccine can take up to one or two weeks to be fully effective.

Media inquiries on this topic should be directed to Jeff Hershberger, public information officer, 816-840-2548 (pager). Follow the Health Department on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at www.facebook.com/kcmohealthdept, www.twitter.com/kcmohealthdept and www.youtube.com/user/kcmohealthdept.

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