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Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today launched its yearly awareness campaign to remind residents to get their flu shot. The campaign features outdoor transit, rail and billboard ads, as well as digital and broadcast ads in English and Spanish that direct Chicagoans to various City resources to help protect themselves and others during flu season.
“Keeping Chicagoans healthy throughout the flu season is integral to keeping our City running,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Ensuring our communities have the resources to prevent illness allows us all to focus on family, friends and work instead of sick-days.”
CDPH first launched its ‘I AM AN OUTBREAK’ campaign in August to remind parents to get all recommended vaccines for their children before the start of the school year. The same message has been adopted for this year’s flu campaign to help remind residents of the dangerous nature of the illness.
“Influenza can be spread easily from person to person,” said Dr. Julie Morita, CDPH’s Chief Medical Officer. “Young children and the elderly are especially at risk for serious illness during flu season, which is why it’s important for everyone six months of age and older to get vaccinated.”
In the US, up to 20 percent of the population is infected with flu every year and approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized for it.
Throughout the campaign, residents are encouraged to talk to their doctor, call a pharmacy or call 311 to get a flu shot. In addition, CDPH has once again teamed up with Smart Chicago Collaborative to re-launch our Flu Clinic Finder. Residents can use the web based app to find a location nearby where they can get their flu shot.
“The flu has the potential to cause serious illness among certain people,” said CDPH Commissioner Bechara Choucair, MD. “Fortunately there is a simple vaccine that everyone can get in order to help protect themselves, their family and their loved ones from getting very sick.”
CDPH has also collaborated with Aldermanic offices and various community partners to host Immunization events where residents can get their flu shot. Residents can attend any of the walk-in clinic events and should bring their Medicare or insurance card if they have one.
In addition to vaccinations, everyone can take the following basic precautions to avoid the flu:
• Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. Teach children the same healthy habits.
• Make an extra effort to clean commonly-touched surfaces, such as countertops, tables, doorknobs, telephones and TV/stereo remote controls.
• Do not share anything that goes in the mouth, such as drinking cups and straws.
• Eat more whole grains, vegetables and fruit, get enough rest and stay physically fit to help the body fight off disease.
• If you have the flu or any cold, do not infect others. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze, and promptly discard used facial tissues. If you are ill, stay home from work or school until you recover.
CDPH’s Immunization program works to increase vaccine coverage levels throughout the City as part of Healthy Chicago, a comprehensive agenda for community health improvement. CDPH and Mayor Emanuel launched Healthy Chicago in August 2011. On Monday, September 29, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented Chicago with the Healthy People 2020 Childhood Influenza Immunization Coverage Award in recognition of last year’s outstanding accomplishment in achieving 64 percent influenza vaccination among children 6 months through 17 years of age, outperforming the national average for the same age group.
The campaign runs through November 30th. To get vaccinated, talk to your doctor or call a pharmacy. If you do not have a doctor, call 311 to locate one of our Fast Track Immunization Clinics. You can also use the Flu Clinic Finder to locate a place nearby.