Submitted by Karen Potts Adams County Health Department
Fall is here and with it comes the time to be vaccinated against seasonal influenza. Commonly referred to as "the flu," influenza is caused by a virus and is spread by coughing, sneezing and contact with nasal secretions. Anyone can get the flu, but rates of infection are highest among children. For most people, symptoms last only a few days and include fever and chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and a stuffy or runny nose. Young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with certain underlying health condition, such as heart, lung or kidney disease or a weakened immune system, can get much sicker. Every year, thousands of people die from influenza and many more are hospitalized. All individuals six months of age and older should get a seasonal influenza vaccine. Adults and older children need one dose of influenza vaccine each year. Children 6 months through 8 years of age who are receiving a flu vaccine for the first time need two doses, at least one month apart, for the best protection. Some people are afraid that they can get the flu from getting a flu shot. The flu shot does not contain the live virus so it is impossible to get the flu from the shot. Side effects that can occur in some people include mild soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, headache or a low-grade fever. These side effects usually last no more than two to three days. The vaccine is safe, effective and the best way to prevent the spread of influenza. Flu vaccinations for adults will be available at the Othello office of Adams County Health Department, 425 E. Main, starting Monday, Sept. 16. Vaccines for children and adolescents are just becoming available. Vaccine for children ages 6 to 35 months and nasal flu vaccine are already in. Please call and check on availability of flu shots for family members under the age of 19. Regular clinic hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. No appointment is needed. Cost is $25 per vaccine with a sliding fee scale for children aged 6 months to 18 years. Medicare and Provider One are accepted. For further information, contact the Health Department at (509) 488-2031.