NH DHHS - NH Residents Encouraged to Get a Seasonal Flu Vaccine First Positive Result at State Public Health Lab

Concord, NH – The annual influenza (flu) season is starting and the New

Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) encourages all

residents to be vaccinated against the flu, especially those who are at

increased risk of complications. An annual flu vaccine is the first and

best way to protect against influenza. DHHS is also announcing the first

case of influenza confirmed by the Public Health Laboratories (PHL) this


“This positive lab result for influenza in a New Hampshire resident is

slightly earlier than average but about the same time as last year,” said

Dr. José Montero. “Every flu season is different and flu is very

unpredictable, but I want to remind everyone that we had an unusually

severe season last winter in New Hampshire and across the country. I

encourage everyone to take steps now to get vaccinated and protect yourself

and your loved ones for the season ahead.”

Influenza can be a serious disease of the lungs, nose, and throat. The

illness is spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing.

Typical flu symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough,

sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. An average of 25,000

people die each year in the United States due to influenza. Last year in

New Hampshire, 44 deaths were reported including three children.

The flu season usually lasts from October through May, so the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DHHS recommend that everyone who

is at least six months of age be vaccinated as soon as they can early in

the season. The vaccine is available in the traditional shot form for

people six months of age and older. Flu vaccine in a nasal mist form is

available for healthy people aged 2–49 years who are not pregnant. School

vaccination clinics have begun and NH plans to conduct up to 100 clinics

this season.. Residents are encouraged to check with schools, pharmacies,

their healthcare provider, or wherever is the most convenient location to

be vaccinated.

“It is important to understand that the vaccine itself does not give you

the flu and that it is very safe,” continued Dr. Montero. “It is especially

important that certain targeted groups be vaccinated for their own safety;

however, other groups, such as health care and child care providers, should

receive the vaccine to protect others. Here in New Hampshire, 91% of

hospital healthcare workers were vaccinated last year.”

While everyone should get a flu vaccine this season, it is especially

important for some people to get vaccinated, including the following


· Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday

· Pregnant women

· People 50 years of age or older

· People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, including

asthma, diabetes, or chronic lung disease

· People who live with or care for those at high risk of flu

complications, including:

o Health care workers

o Household contacts of persons at high risk of complications from

the flu

o Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children younger

than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be


For more information on influenza and the vaccine, contact the NH

Immunization Program at 1-800-852-3345 x 4482 or 603-271-4482 or the Bureau

of Infectious Disease Control at 1-800-852-3345 x 0279 or 603-271-0279.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at

www.cdc.gov  for more information or the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov .