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October is Influenza Prevention Month

Flu shots are recommended for all pregnant women.
PhotoAlto/Michele Constantini
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Flu shots are recommended for all pregnant women.

Flu shots are widely available across North Dakota.

October is Influenza Prevention Month – and the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services is highlighting it by encouraging everyone to get their flu shots before Halloween.

Levi Schlosser is an epidemiologist with the Department. He says the flu is a respiratory illness that commonly causes fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chills and body aches – and it can be severe enough for some people to need hospitalization. Schlosser says last year, over 200 people in North Dakota needed to be hospitalized for the flu, and 39 deaths were recorded as well. And he says this year may be more severe than previous years.

Schlosser says flu vaccines are widely accessible across the state.

"Flu vaccines are offered in many doctors offices, clinics, pharmacies, local health departments, college health centers offer them as well. Often, many employers offer them as well. Locations are available on our website, or at www.vaccines.gov or at www.ndvax.org. Both websites will have lists of locations where vaccines are available."

Schlosser says infants, young children, pregnant women, anyone over 65 and those with chronic medical conditions are at an increased risk for serious complications of influenza.

Flu vaccines are available for everyone aged six months and older.