The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is urging residents on flu vaccines to protect against potentially life-threatening influenza.

"Now is the time for the people of Michigan to get their flu shot to make sure they are protected from the flu season," Dr. Eden Wells, senior medical director of MDHHS, in a press release. "The flu should be taken seriously because it can cause serious and even fatal consequences."

Three residents of Michigan have recently been tested positive for seasonal influenza – the influenza A (H1N1) virus. One resident who participated in a conference in Grand Rapids and two family members was tested positive for the virus after about 120 participants reported to the conference about the disease. In Michigan and other states, tests are being conducted as conference attendees came from all over the country.

An annual flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu and its complications, according to the press release.

The flu is an infectious airway pathogen that often causes fever, sore throat, cough, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, headache and fatigue. People who already have the flu can pass on the virus to others even before they feel ill.

The state urges that every 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine every year.

While most people get influenza, others may develop more serious complications. It is particularly important that children, adults over the age of 65 and older, people with chronic diseases and pregnant women be vaccinated against the flu. Influenza vaccination for pregnant women protects both the mother and the unborn child, according to the press release

influenza outbreaks associated with attitudes where people have close, longer contact, such as long term care facilities, schools, student dorms, and conferences are during the Flu season is not uncommon and can even occur in times of low influenza virus circulation, as in summer.

According to the press release, influenza testing should be considered when a patient has signs and symptoms, regardless of the season.

With many young people on their way to college, it's a good idea to get a flu vaccine before going to campus

According to the news release, there is no way to know when the flu is going on in the communities far why residents of Michigan should now be vaccinated against the flu before they are exposed to an influenza virus. It takes about two weeks to be fully protected after vaccination.

For more information on vaccinations in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/immunize and www.michigan.gov/flu. To find a vaccine near you, visit http://vaccine.healthmap.org/.

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