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HEALTH DEPARTMENT NEWS

Flu vaccine now available Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, are at high risk for serious flu complications. Everyone 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine each year. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. Flu viruses are always changing. Each year, the flu vaccine is made to protect from the viruses that are most likely to cause disease that year. While flu vaccine cannot prevent all cases of flu, it is our best defense against the disease. The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. There are two types of flu vaccines and both are available at the health department: 1. The “flu shot” - an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle. The seasonal flu shot is approved for use in people 6 months of age and older, including healthy people, people with chronic medical conditions and pregnant women. 2. High-dose influenza vaccine designed specifically for people 65 years and older. Human immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness from influenza. A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is supposed to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu. Yearly flu vaccination should begin as soon as the vaccine is available and continue throughout the flu season, which can last as late as May. This is because the timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While flu season can begin early as October, most of the time seasonal flu activity peaks in January, February or later. Some people believe the flu vaccine can give you the flu. Is this true? No, the flu shot cannot cause flu illness. The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur. The Woodford County Health Department is currently giving the seasonal flu vaccine. The cost is $25 for the flu shot. If you have health insurance, please bring your card. No charge to those who have Medicare Part B (please bring Medicare card and Supplemental Insurance card). Clinic hours for flu shots are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Fridays from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Flu shots will be given on a walk-in basis; no appointment necessary. For more information, please call the health department at 873-4541.

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