Flu Seasons Hits Hard – Still Time to Get Covered

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

Health officials in Illinois have been concerned that this flu season would be long and severe. It appears those fears are well founded. A recent announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that this year’s influenza vaccine was likely to be less effective than years past has created some confusion.

Even with more students staying home from school, some schools even canceling classes, and school districts throughout the region reporting widespread and severe flu outbreaks, the experts say that even a less effective immunization is better than no immunization at all, providing some level of protection and lessening how bad your symptoms are and how long they last.

Health officials around the state, including Illinois Department of Public Health Director, Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, are encouraging everyone six months or older to get their flu vaccines.

“Previous flu seasons have shown the number of people being vaccinated drops quickly after November, but this is typically when we start seeing increased flu activity, which we currently are. If you haven’t received your flu vaccine, it’s not too late,” said Dr. Hasbrouck. “Know that you have taken the single best preventive measure to help protect yourself and your loved ones this holiday season by getting vaccinated.”

To reduce the spread of flu, it is also important to practice the 3 C’s:|

Clean – properly wash your hands frequently
Cover – cover your cough and sneeze
Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you are sick

While flu activity doesn’t usually peak until January or February in the United States, and the season can last as late as May. As long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination can help provide protection.


Through the Get Covered Illinois Marketplace, you can get coverage from the top insurance companies in the state to fit your needs, and all Marketplace plans must cover certain preventive services, including the flu vaccine, without charging you a copayment or coinsurance. This is true even if you haven’t met your yearly deductible.

Seasonal flu vaccines have a very good safety track record.

• The flu vaccine is available by shot or nasal spray.
• Get your flu shot or spray as soon as the vaccine is available in your area.
• It is especially important to get the vaccine if you, someone you live with, or someone you care for is at high risk of complications from the flu.
• Mild reactions such as soreness, headaches, and fever are common side effects of the flu vaccine.
• If you experience a severe reaction such as difficulty breathing, hives, or facial swelling, seek medical attention immediately.


Get Covered Illinois enrolled more than 700,000 people in its first year, but there are still hundreds of thousands who are uninsured. More than 75 percent of Illinois residents who enrolled last year got help to pay for coverage. For trained specialists, you can reach the GCI Help Desk at (866) 311-1119 to ask questions or schedule an appointment, or visit GetCoveredIllinois.gov to find free, in-person help in your area.

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