DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH NEWS
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot
With flu season underway and expected to continue through early May, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is urging all New Mexicans to get their flu shot this year.
“This year, it is more important than ever to get your flu shot,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Now is the best time to get your flu shot.”
“Getting your flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from the complications, hospitalizations, or death that influenza can cause,” said Dr. Chris Novak, NMDOH Public Health Medical Director. “In addition, getting a flu shot saves healthcare resources and hospital rooms for treating COVID-19 patients and others with more serious health conditions.”
The following groups of people are strongly recommended to be vaccinated because they are at high risk for complications from influenza, or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- Pregnant women (all trimesters), and up to two weeks post-partum
- People ages 65 years and older
- People of any age with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, lung or heart disease, and those who are immunocompromised
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including healthcare personnel and caregivers of babies younger than six months
- American Indians and Alaskan Natives
- People who are morbidly obese
- Caregivers to the groups mentioned above and all healthcare workers need to get vaccinated every year to protect the people they care for or treat.
People in these groups should also consider seeing their healthcare provider as early as possible to be evaluated for antiviral medication if they develop flu symptoms because the sooner that these medications are begun, the better the chance of preventing serious complications.
People who have the flu may have some or all the following symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
“Remember that to avoid catching the flu or passing it on to others, everyone should wash their hands frequently, cover their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, and stay home when ill.” said Dr. Novak.
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including healthcare provider offices, pharmacies, hospitals, and public health offices, as well in some worksites and schools. The New Mexico Department of Health encourages those with health insurance to contact their healthcare provider or pharmacist about getting a flu vaccine. The Health Department offers vaccinations for people without insurance or who are otherwise not able to get vaccinated. Those with Medicaid or other insurance who go to Public Health Offices are asked to bring their insurance card.
Additional information on the flu from the New Mexico Department of Health can be found at https://www.TogetherNM.org/flu