Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

September 19, 2013

Health Department to offer free flu shots

By Amanda Browning Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG – The Decatur County Health Department will be hosting a free walk-in adult flu clinic for Decatur County residents from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26.

While most people have had or at least known someone with the flu, one might not always consider getting a flu shot. According to the Indiana State Department of Health, between 5 and 20 percent of the population of the United States are infected with the flu each year.

More than 200,000 people are hospitalized for seasonal flu-related symptoms yearly. Some people are particularly susceptible to the flu, such as older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions. These people are at a high risk for serious flu complications, such as pneumonia.

Influenza, or flu as it is more commonly known, is caused by a virus that infects the respiratory tract. Although anyone can contract the flu, some can develop worse conditions and even be at risk for death. Every year, between 3,000 and 49,000 people die from influenza and related illnesses.

After being exposed to the flu, symptoms usually start between one and four days later. Common symptoms include fever, chills, headache, cough, sore throat, muscle aches and nausea. Those infected may be able to spread the virus about one day before showing symptoms and up to seven days after getting sick.

The best way to avoid getting the flu is to get a flu shot every year before the flu season starts, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. Because viruses are able to change over time, it is important to get a new shot every year. Each year, scientists remake the vaccine to include the viruses they think are likely to cause illness during the flu season. Within a few days of getting the shot, a person will begin being protected, but full effectiveness does not occur until about 14 days after being vaccinated.

In addition to getting a flu shot every year, people may protect themselves from the influenza virus by washing hands often with soap and water; using the elbow, upper arm or a tissue to cover coughs and sneezes rather than hands, avoiding close contact to those who are ill and staying home when sick.

On Oct. 1, Health Department officials will visit Greensburg, North Decatur and South Decatur Elementary schools to administer flu shots to any teachers and staff who would like to receive them. The vaccines will be available free of charge and recipients must have signed up ahead of time.

On Oct. 5, members of the Decatur County Health Department will be attending the Children’s Health and Safety fair at the YMCA, which is an annual event sponsored by Gilliland-Howe Funeral Home and the Decatur County YMCA. There will be 100 flu shots given free of charge and recipients need only fill out a consent form.

For more information or questions regarding the flu vaccine or other services provided by the Decatur County Health Department, please call 812-663-8301.

Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004