National Influenza Vaccine Week is scheduled for Dec. 2-8. The Brownwood/Brown County Health Department would like to take this opportunity to remind all the residents of our city and the surrounding area that it is not too late to get vaccinated against the flu. Flu season occurs in the fall and winter. The flu usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur as early as October and as late as May.

Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the flu virus. It is spread when a person who has the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks and droplets containing their germs land in your mouth or nose. You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose. Most healthy adults can infect others one day before symptoms develop, and five to seven days after symptoms appear. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems might be contagious for a longer period. Complications from the flu can be very serious, especially to certain high-risk groups, which include seniors (those age 65 and older), children (especially those age 2 and younger), pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions such as chronic respiratory illness and diabetes. Flue related complications can include pneumonia and dehydration.

The best protection agains the flue is the flue vaccine. The Brownwood/Brown County Health Department would like to encourage anyone who has not received a flu vaccine this flu season to get vaccinated without delay. The Center for Disease Control recommends that all people age 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccine. The flu vaccine can be obtained at the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department at this time. The cost of the adult flu vaccine is $20, or Medicare part B. Individuals can call the health department at (325) 646-0554 for information about the cost of the flu vaccine for children. Numerous physicians' offices and pharmacies also have the flu vaccine available.

For answers to questions about the flu and the flu vaccine, people can access the CDC website at www.cdc.gov or contact the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department at (325) 646-0554. The Brownwood/Brown County Health Department is located at 510 E. Lee Street.