Society

Stopping the flu is up to you

By PATSY GAINES
Milam County Health Director
Flu season is here, believe it or not. Time has passed so quickly especially since the Milam County Health Department basically worked through two different types of flu seasons last year – H1N1 and seasonal flu.

Just after the news that “swine flu” is no longer a global threat; it’s time to roll up our sleeves for another shot. Centers for Disease Control is recommending universal influenza vaccination. Instead of confusing lists based on age and health status, now it’s simple: Everybody more than 6 months old is advised to get a shot.

Of course while everyone should receive a flu vaccine, we still would like to stress the importance of the following groups to get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications. Those groups are

• Pregnant women.

• Children younger than 5, but especially younger than 2 years old.

• People 50 years of age and older.

• People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.

• People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

• People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from f lu, including: Health care workers, household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the f lu and household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated).

We in public health think that vaccination can benefit everybody.

Flu is unpredictable and there is no way to know which strain will be more predominate. Therefore, the best way to protect yourself and those around you is to get vaccinated every year.

Last year’s toll nationwide was about 12,000 deaths, 60 million illnesses and 265,000 hospitalizations.

New CDC statistics last week suggest flu strain mortality varies widely, from 3,000 in an exceptionally mild year to 49,000 in a recent really bad one — and it’s impossible to predict how bad each year will be.

The 2010-11 f lu vaccine will protect against three different flu viruses: an H3N2 virus, and Influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season. Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available is always a good idea and especially since there has already been confirmed cases of influenza. The protection you get from the vaccination will last throughout the flu season.

Milam County Health Department will be conducting mass flu clinics again this year and will provide dates, times and locations.

pagaines2002@yahoo.com MILAM COUNTY

HEALTH

Milam County

Health Department • Local hours—Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m.-noon and 1- 4:30 p.m. • Phone—Rockdale office: 512-446-4026. Cameron office: 254-697-7039. • Web site: www.milamhealth. com.

Provides immunizations, TB tests, a well-child clinic, septic inspections, vision and hearing screenings, blood pressure checks, diabetes screening, STD tests, indigent health care applications, food handlers inspections.


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2010-09-30 digital edition



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