Seasonal flu vaccine will be available Sept. 4

Published 6:00am Friday, August 31, 2012

By CAROLYN MASCHKE

Southwest Public Health District

The Southwest Public Health District’s 14 county health departments, including Decatur County, will begin offering seasonal influenza vaccinations on Tuesday, Sept, 4, says District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant.

“We have an ample supply of both nasal mist and flu shots,” Grant said. “Doses are $25. The health departments accept Medicaid, Medicare and many common insurance carriers, and, of course, cash,” she said. “Some patients are also candidates for the Vaccines for Children program. You should contact your local health department to find out about payment options.”

Seasonal flu can cause mild to severe illness — and even death, Grant said.

“Some people, such as older adults, young children and people with chronic health conditions like diabetes or heart disease are at high risk for serious flu complications,” she said.

The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older as the first and best way to protect against influenza. However, individuals should check with their healthcare providers to ensure they are candidates for the flu vaccine, since people who are sick with a fever, have severe egg allergies or other conditions should not get the vaccine.

“Remember, you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick,” Grant said. “Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.” Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.”

Flu symptoms include fever (usually high), headache, extreme tiredness, a dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. Stomach symptoms are also common, especially in children.

Besides getting the flu vaccine, there are other actions that protect against the flu:

• Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based rub if soap and water aren’t available.

• People who are sick with flu-like illness should stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine

For more information about the seasonal flu vaccine, contact the Decatur County Health Department at (229) 248-3055, or visit online at www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org or www.cdc.gov.

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