2006_9_health_flu.jpgWe love this time of year. The weather's cooling down, noisy kids have headed back to school, and the DOH City Health Information newsletter comes out with its hot Influenza: Prevention and Control issue. The summer's barely over but our stodgy health officials don't want you to forget that another flu season is right around the corner and can be quite deadly for people with health problems, killing 36,000 people nationwide every year. Teamed up with pneumonia, the flu kills 3,000 New Yorkers a year. As there was a run on the flu vaccine last year, it’s never too early to think about this year's shot. The following folk are at risk and should look into the vaccine:

• All children aged 6 months until their fifth birthday
• All pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy
• All people aged 50 years and older
• All people aged 5 to 49 years with certain chronic medical conditions
• All residents of nursing homes, chronic care facilities, and other long-term care facilities, who are at least 6 months of age
• All out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of high-risk individuals, including contacts of children under 5 years of age
• All health care workers

While the vaccine can be available as early as this month, the supply will be in greater supply towards the ends of the year. It should also be easier for people to get the vaccine this season, as the DOH does not endorse prioritizing patients for the vaccine this year. This basically means that eligible patients will be vaccinated on a first-come first-serve sort of basis. Regular flu and vaccine availability updates will be posted at the DOH website. The full newsletter is available here.