Posted on October 19, 2012
Originally published in the El Dorado News-Times on October 20, 2012.
With influenza activity likely to increase in the upcoming months, the Arkansas Department of Health will host a drive-through flu vaccination clinic from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Union County Fairgrounds.
Union County Health Unit Administrator Susan Blake said anyone six months or older is eligible for a flu shot and the department of health is asking people if they have insurance to bring their card whether it is private insurance or Medicaid/Medicare. However, she said those without any coverage can get a flu shot at the drive- through clinic.
"The vaccine is going to protect against three flu viruses that will cause the most illness during this upcoming season,? she said. "Getting a flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your co-workers against the flu.?
With the drive-through clinic, Blake said a person does not even need to leave their car.
"You just drive through and a nurse will give your shot while you?re still in your car,? she said.
She did recommend that if a person is acutely ill ? running fever ? they should hold off receiving a flu shot until the fever goes down.
Those with a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome or a life-threatening egg allergy should not be vaccinated. Persons with a non-life threatening egg allergy may be vaccinated, but they need to see a doctor specializing in allergies.
But for all other people, ADH recommends getting a flu shot. According to an ADH press release:
"Certain people are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu. This includes older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and persons who live in facilities like nursing homes.?
The press release also recommends that children eight years of age and younger should expect to need a second dose of vaccine for full protection.
"In some cases they may be able to get by with one dose, and a health care provider can help determine if it is needed. Parents will need to contact a local ADH health unit or health care provider to see if vaccine is available and take their children in for a second dose four weeks after the first vaccination,? it said.
There are a few reactions and side effects one might expect after receiving a flu shot that include:
? Mild soreness and redness near the site of the shot
? A little fever or slight headache
The nasal spray vaccine?s side effects may include:
? Runny nose
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.
Influenza symptoms include:
? 100 degrees temperature
? Extreme fatigue
? Sore throat
? Muscle aches
? Dry cough
? Runny or stuffy nose
? Occasionally stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
The ADH is providing flu vaccines at day-long mass flu clinic events in every county in the state with the goal to immunize as many people as possible.
For a complete list of sites, see http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programsServices/infectiousDisease/Immunizations/SeasonalFlu/Documents/MassFluSites.pdf.
For more information about the influenza virus or its vaccination, go to www.healthy.arkansas.gov or www.flu.gov.
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