By Mary Drier
THUMB AREA — Now is the time to start fighting back against the flu with a vaccination, according to Tuscola County Health Department Nursing Administrator Ann Hepfer R.N.B.S.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting you and your family against the flu viruses.
The Tuscola County Health Department is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and closed noon-12:30 p.m. for lunch. Adult flu vaccinations will be done on Friday, Sept. 21, Monday, Sept. 24, and Wednesday, Sept. 26, by appointment.
“They are done by appointment,” said Hepfer.
To make a flue vaccination appointment call (989) 673-8114, Ext. 187.
The cost of the flu shot is $25. The department will bill a participant’s insurance, but it is best to call before hand to make sure the service is covered. Also, county residents who are over the age of 60 and under 65 can receive their vaccination free as part of the county’s senior service millage.
Also, flu vaccinations for children are given during regular immunization clinics.
There are many different flu viruses. A flu vaccine protects you against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common this upcoming flu season. Everyone six months of age and older should get the flu vaccine.
This year’s flu vaccine is now ready for distribution.
Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. People at high risk include young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
Vaccination is as important for health care workers and others who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk individuals. Children younger than six months are at high risk for serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who are caring for them should be vaccinated.
Besides getting vaccinated, the CDC suggest taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs: cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after use. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you sneeze or cough do so into the crook of your elbow.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are spread this way. If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least the 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care for other necessities. This fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
The CDC also suggest taking flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. These drugs can make the illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. Antiviral flu drugs work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick, but starting them later may still be helpful for some people. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
Flu like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without having a fever. For more information on the flu visit www.cdc.gov/flu or www.tchd.us. To receive a flu shot please see your physician, local pharmacy or health department.
For more information, call the Tuscola County Health Department 989-673-8114 Ext. 187.
Mary Drier is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.