Friday, October 07, 2011

TOP STORY > >Flu shots available at clinic in Cabot

The Lonoke and Cabot County Health Units will provide seasonal flu shots from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 at the Cabot Veterans Park Community Center, 508 N. Lincoln St. in Cabot.

The Lonoke and Cabot County Health Units are among local health units statewide that are participating in mass flu vaccination clinics beginning the last week of October. The clinic is not limited to residents of Lonoke County, said Milton Garris, administrator of the health units in Cabot and Lonoke in a press release.

The mass flu clinic is a daylong event to immunize as many people as possible. Arkansas Department of Health staff, health professionals and volunteers work as a team to provide the vaccine.

Lonoke County Health Officer Dr. Steve Fiedorek said, “Everyone over the age of 6 months should get flu vaccine. Flu can be a serious illness and we lose roughly 23,600 Americans to complications from flu each year. It’s important for Lonoke County citizens to get their flu vaccine. If you have insurance, the state Health Department will ask your insurance company to pay for the cost of giving the vaccine. If you do not have insurance or your insurance company does not pay, the vaccine will be no charge to you.”

Flu vaccination is not mandatory, but is highly recommended for anyone 6 months and older, he said.

According to the release, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatricians recommend that all children aged 6 months and older receive seasonal flu vaccine every year.

In addition to causing illness, seasonal flu causes children to miss school and their parents to miss work.

Flu is a sickness that infects the nose, throat and lungs and is caused by the influenza virus. If you’re young and healthy, the flu vaccine may be 70 to 90 percent effective in preventing illness.

Children 8 years and younger who have never received seasonal flu vaccine before will need a second dose of flu vaccine for full protection. Parents will need to contact a local ADH health unit or health care provider, see if vaccine is available and take their children in for a second dose four weeks after the first vaccine.

Over the last 50 years, flu vaccines have been shown to be safe, according to the release.

All flu vaccines are made the same way. An average of 100 million doses of influenza vaccine have been used in the United States each year, and flu vaccines have an excellent safety record.

Reactions to flu vaccines might include a mild soreness and redness near the site of the shot and perhaps a little fever or slight headache. The nasal spray flu vaccine side effects may include runny nose, headache and wheezing. The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu.

There are very few medical reasons not to get the flu vaccine. They include life threatening reactions such as anaphylaxis to a previous dose of flu vaccine or eggs or Guillain-Barre syndrome. Persons with a non-life threatening egg allergy may be vaccinated, but need to see a doctor specializing in allergies.

Influenza symptoms include fever over 100 degrees, headache, extreme fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches, dry cough, runny or stuffy nose and occasionally stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

The influenza virus is spread through coughing or sneezing and by touching a hard surface with the virus on it and then touching the nose or mouth. The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year.

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