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October 1, 2012
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Free flu shot clinic Saturday in Minden

Douglas County residents will be able to get a flu shot for the price of driving to Minden on Saturday.

The free drive-through flu clinic is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Douglas High School and is being sponsored by Douglas County Emergency Management and the Carson City Health Department.

"We want to encourage as many community members to attend and get their free flu shot," said East Fork Fire District Deputy Chief Dave Fogerson.

Fogerson said 2,000 vaccinations will be available at the clinic. Last year that was plenty for the 1,200 Carson Valley residents who turned out.

The flu vaccination dispensation is an exercise in distributing a large number of inoculations to people at one time conducted by Douglas County Emergency Management.

The vaccination coveres the three types of flu believed to be a threat this season, including the H1N1. Even if a new strain comes out, a flu shot can provide some protection.

Flu activity in Nevada is low so far this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

An annual flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months or older.

Who should get the flu shot?

It is recommended that everyone 50 years of age or older; anyone who has a longterm health problem; anyone with a weakened immune system; anyone 6 months to 18 years of age on long-term aspirin treatment; healthcare workers; pregnant women who will be past the third month of pregnancy during the flu season, should receive the flu shot. The annual flu shot is also encouraged for anyone who wants to reduce his or her chance of catching the flu.

Priority is given to high-risk individuals such as:

• Persons 65 years of age or older

• Persons 6 months to 64 years with certain chronic medical conditions

• Healthy children 6 thru 23 months

• Healthcare workers

• Household contacts of persons at increased risk for influenza-related complications including contacts with infants less than 6 months of age who are not eligible for the vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, is encouraging influenza vaccination for healthy children from 6 months to 23 months of age because children in this age group are at substantially increased risk for influenza-related hospitalizations.

The Nevada State Immunization Program will provide flu vaccine to providers for children ages 6 months through 18 years of age that are at high risk for complications. They include: children and teenagers age 6 months through 18 years who are receiving long term aspirin therapy and might be at risk for developing Reye Syndrome; children that have chronic disorders of the pulmonary or cardiovascular systems including asthma; children requiring regular medical follow-up or hospitalization during preceding year because of chronic metabolic diseases such as diabetes, renal dysfunction, hemoglobinopathies, or immunosuppression, HIV; and pregnant teenage women who will be in the second or third trimester of pregnancy during the flu season. For information, call (775) 684-5900.

When should I be vaccinated?

The optimal time to receive vaccination is during October and November. Influenza, commonly referred to as the "Flu," has historically peaked during late December through early March, especially in the past few seasons.

How long does it take for the vaccine to become effective?

Adults develop peak antibody protection against the flu in about 2 weeks after receiving the vaccination. Children younger than 9 years of age who are receiving the vaccine for the first time should receive the vaccine in October because they need a booster dose one month after the initial dose.

Can the shot give you the flu?

Flu vaccines are made from killed influenza viruses-these viruses cannot give you the flu.

If I get the flu shot, can I still get the flu?

This can happen, but the flu shot usually protects most people from the flu.

However, the flu shot will not protect you from other viruses that can cause illnesses that sometimes feel like the flu.

The flu is just like a bad cold?

No. The flu is far more dangerous than a bad cold. It is a disease of the lungs, and it can lead to pneumonia. Each year about 114,000 people in the United States are hospitalized and about 20,000 people die because of the flu. Most who die are over 65 years old; but small children less than 2 years old are as likely as those over 65 to have to go to the hospital because of the flu.

Are side effects from the vaccine worse than the flu?

The most frequent side effect you're likely to get is a sore arm.

The risk of a rare allergic reaction is far less than the risk of severe complications from flu.

What are the risks from the flu shot?

A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small and very rare.

Can everyone take the flu shot?

No. If you are allergic to eggs (used in making the vaccine); if you are very ill with a high fever; or if you've had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine in the past, you might not be able to get this protection. Consult your physician if in doubt.

Are the very old and sick the only individuals who need flu protection?

Both adults and children who are in good health need a flu shot to stay healthy. Even if you aren't at high risk of complications, you should get a flu shot to prevent the flu and to protect those who live with you, or with whom you may encounter during your daily activities.

What are some of the symptoms of flu?

The onset of symptoms is sudden. You will have a sudden headache, dry cough, and you may have a runny nose and sore throat. Your muscles will ache, you will be very tired, and you can have a fever up to 104. The flu is a respiratory (breathing) illness. There is no such illness called "stomach flu." Symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting are uncommon with the flu, except in very young children. Always check with your healthcare provider if you have questions about the diagnosis and treatment of these illnesses.

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The Record Courier Updated Oct 1, 2012 07:58PM Published Oct 1, 2012 12:46PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.