September 16, 2013

Flu vaccination an important boost for health

The first day of fall is Sunday (at 4:44 p.m., to be exact) and area health departments this week are offering a way to stay healthy until next spring.

That’s right, it’s flu shot time.

Area health departments will conduct drive-by flu shot clinics in Chatsworth on Tuesday and in Dalton at the trade center on Wednesday. These are an excellent opportunity for us to boost the health care of our community.

There are those in doubt as to the effectiveness of the vaccinations, mainly because of some misinformation. Here are the facts:

• A flu shot won’t make you sick.

• It won’t cause autism.

• Even active and healthy people are at risk from the flu.

• Now is the best time to get vaccinated. Flu season peaks in January and February but can occur as late as May.

• The clinics are convenient, as they serve people quickly as they remain in their vehicles.

Sure, a few people may get a sore arm, possibly low fever or achiness. But compare that to the severe and sometimes life-threatening symptoms caused by the flu.

These clinics serve a dual purpose — they also test the abilities of the health departments to administer medications to the public quickly during a widespread public health crisis, such as pandemic influenza.

People over 50, pregnant women, children under 5 and anyone with conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease are at highest risk from flu complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The cost for the regular flu shot is $22, and the Fluzone high-dose shot is $50. The clinics take Medicare, Medicaid and many insurance companies. Cash is always welcomed, and they even take checks.

This could be the healthiest investment you make this year.

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