Omaha Public Radio News
9:54 am
Tue October 5, 2010

Chief Medical Officer urges all Nebraskans to get flu shots

Omaha, NE – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services says 13 people died last year from confirmed cases of the flu.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joann Schaefer says this year's flu vaccine includes both the common strain of flu and the H1N1 strain. Dr. Schaefer says now is the time to get a flu shot and be protected from the virus all season. While a flu shot is recommended for everyone over six months old, Dr. Schaefer says some groups are especially vulnerable to the virus.

"People who are older and the little ones tend to have the most problems with it, and then folks who have chronic underlying lung disease, heart disease, neurological conditions, and folks that are immuno-suppressed and diabetic are all the folks that are going to have more significant complications if they get the flu," Schaefer says. Health care workers and pregnant women are also at an increased risk of complications from the flu.

Dr. Schaefer says the vaccine is readily available this season. In Douglas County, the Health Department offers flu shots at no charge to children up to 18 years old.

One-third of the people hospitalized last year in Nebraska with the flu were adults.