The following memo was provided to all DHS employees.
From: Alexander G. Garza, MD, MPH, Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer
The 2012-2013 Influenza (flu) season is well under way and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported an increase in flu activity. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness spread mainly by droplets made when people cough, sneeze or talk. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
This season, the circulating flu type is more severe than in the past. Fortunately, this year’s vaccine is well matched to the currently circulating strains.
All individuals six months of age and older are recommended to get a flu vaccine and is especially recommended for:
- People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease
- Pregnant women
- People 65 years and older
- People who live with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications
Vaccination remains the best tool to protect against the flu. However, in addition to getting the vaccine, it is important to wash your hands frequently, shield your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow, and if you are sick, stay home and remain home until you have been without a fever for 24 hours.
Please ask your leadership for information on how you can obtain a flu vaccination, and contact the Office of Health Affairs at HealthAffairs@dhs.gov if you have any questions or concerns.