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Health officials say to get a flu shot before the flu gets you

Posted at 11:32 PM, Dec 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-20 23:32:19-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Marion County health officials are urging people to get a flu shot and they emphasize that it's not too late.

This comes as hospitals in the county have started enforcing visitor rules to protect staff and patients from exposure to the flu virus.

"Thousands of Americans die each year from influenza or the flu, so it's very important everyone gets the flu vaccine so they don't get sick," HealthNet's chief nursing officer Carrie Bonsack said. ""It's recommended by the CDC that everyone gets the flu vaccine."

RELATED | Flu concerns leading to Indianapolis hospital visitation restrictions

The Centers for Disease Control estimates there have been between 9 and 45 million cases of the flu since 2010, resulting in hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths.

Most of that would have been preventable if people had been vaccinated, according to the CDC.

"Some of the complications are severe respiratory illness, high fevers, people can get extremely ill from that... you could pass away or become severaly dehydrated," Bonsack said. ""Children, infants, and people over the age of 65 are more vulnerable and at risk for getting the flu."

Even though the year is almost over, Bonsack said that isn't a reason to skip out on the life-saving vaccine.

"The flu, you can get it anytime between October and really May, so it's still a good time to go and get your flu vaccine," she said.

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