Flu: It is not too late to vaccinate!

Dec. 7-13 was National Influenza Vaccination Week. In observance of the week, Tioga County Department of Health is encouraging people to protect yourself and your loved ones by getting the flu shot. Flu season usually starts in October, peaks in February, and can last as late as May.

Annual flu viruses infect up to 20 percent of Americans, put 200,000 in the hospital with flu-related complications, and kills about 36,000 people.

People from six months of age and older are encouraged to get a flu vaccination.

In addition to getting the flu vaccination, it is also important to practice good health habits: Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your elbow, not your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you are not near a sink. Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. Stay home when you are sick, and do not return to school or work.

Getting the flu shot is the single most important step to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu.