The Macon County Health Department hosted a Flu Clinic on Friday, October 5, in an effort to encourage locals to get the vaccine before the season is in full force.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services send out a yearly Influenza Vaccine information statement just before flu season begins. What you need to know (information courtesy of the Dept. of Health’s 2012-2013 statement):
1.) Flu is a contagious disease, which can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or nasal secretions. Young children, people age 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health problems can get much sicker than the average person.
2.) There are two kinds of flu vaccine available. The inactivated vaccine, or ‘flu shot’, is given by injection. The live, attenuated vaccine is sprayed into the nostrils. The flu virus is always changing, so yearly vaccinations are recommended.
All people age 6 months and older should get vaccinated as soon as it is available in the flu season (if you have severe allergies, make sure to ask your doctor). Influenza can occur at any time, but is usually occurs from October to May. In recent seasons, most infections were in January and February.
3.) There are some risks from the flu vaccine, like any medicine. Some mild problems that could be experienced include soreness or swelling where shot was given, sore, red or itchy eyes, cough, fever, headache, fatigue and aches. If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days. Some severe allergic reactions could occur, although they are very rare, and they usually appear within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot. If this occurs, call a doctor, tell them what happened and when the vaccine was given, and ask them to report the reaction.
4.) There is a national vaccine injury compensation program (VICP which was created in 1986; more information can be gotten at 1-800-338-2382 or www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation.
5.) For more information about the flu vaccine, call 1-800-232-4636 or visit www.cdc.gov/flu