DHD to offer vaccination clinics for flu season

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

MANISTEE — While the first day of school is just around the corner in Manistee County, flu season is following close behind.

The District Health Department No. 10 is offering flu vaccinations to those of any age to protect against influenza, at a cost.

A flu clinic will be held in Mason County from 9-11 a.m. on Sept. 6. at the DHD No. 10 Office, at 916 Diana St. in Ludington. Another clinic will be offered from 1-3 p.m. today at the Free Soil Community Center, at 2656 E Michigan St.

Although vaccinations have been a widely spread topic in the United States in recent years, DHD No. 10 is reminding parents to check immunizations records and make sure children are up to date before school starts.

Jennifer Morse, DHD No. 10 medical director, said people should speak with a health care provider to learn which vaccines are recommended for themselves or their children and inquire about any risks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for children born in the U.S. from 1994 to 2013, vaccinations were said to prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over an entire lifetime.

“Though the peak time for flu season is typically February, it can start as early as October as it did last year,” said Morse. “It takes two weeks for the flu shot to be fully effective, so it is important to get the vaccine before being exposed to the illness so it can be protective.”

Last year, the CDC reported an overall influenza vaccine effectiveness of nearly 60 percent. Children who are not vaccinated are at a higher risk of contracting a disease or illness, or a severe disease or illness causing death.

“Kids spend a lot of time together sharing things and may not do the best covering coughs, sneezes or washing their hands,” Morse said. “Last year there were several schools that had to close in order to control flu outbreaks. Influenza is very contagious and schools are the perfect setting for illnesses to spread.”

However, officials say vaccinations are not only vital for children.

Preteens and teens are advised by the DHD to get four main vaccines:

  • A meningococcal conjugate vaccine, protecting against meningitis and blood infections (septicemia);
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV;
  • A vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis); and
  • A yearly flu vaccine to protect against seasonal flu.

Morse said adults have the same risks of contracting the flu as children, and should get influenza vaccinations.

However, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System found that only about 44 percent of adults 18 years or older received a flu vaccine from 2014-15 during the flu season.

“One risk of not being vaccinated is getting the flu,” Morse said. “On average, 5-20 percent of people in the U.S. get the flu each year. Best case scenario, you feel terrible fever, severe body aches and cough. Typically, you feel like this for 5-7 days and can’t function well.”

Worst case scenario, Morse said each year around 12,000 to 56,000 people die from the flu — including otherwise healthy children and adults. Overall, 140,000 to 710,000 are hospitalized.

However, some people are not comfortable with the risks.

Johns Hopkins University Institute for Vaccine Safety found in a recent study, the most common risks and side effects are soreness, redness, swelling at the site of the injection, and very rarely, allergic reactions. Morse said the symptoms tend to be mild and disappear within two days.

“About 1 out of 3 million people may have a higher risk of developing a neurologic reaction called Guillian-Barre Syndrome (GBS) after getting a flu shot,” Morse said. “This is potential complication of many naturally occurring infections. The risk of getting GBS after being sick with influenza is much higher than this, so the benefits of the vaccine are felt to greatly outweigh the risks.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment with DHD No. 10, call (888) 217-3904 or visit www.dhd10.org.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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