|Corrigan Times - Local News
Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company
Flu vaccines now available at Memorial and Corrigan clinics
LIVINGSTON —The fl u is a potentially deadly disease that can easily be prevented by receiving an annual vaccine. The 2013-14 fl u season started on Sept. 30 and lasts through May. Vaccines are now available at Memorial Clinics in the offi ces of Dr. Raoul Perez, Dr. Sandra Hutchison and Dr. Jairo Libreros. In the Corrigan area, the shots are available at the Corrigan Clinic with James Bledsoe P.A. Last year alone, 40,000 people died from the fl u. The most effective way to prevent the dangerous disease is to take the safe, effective and cost-effi cient vaccine. The signs and symptoms of fl u include 100°F or higher fever, headache, weakness, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, runny or stuffy nose, chills, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea and nasal drainage. Weakness and fatigue can last for weeks after the initial diagnosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourage anyone over the age of 6 months old to receive the fl u vaccine. There are two varieties available this year in the form of a shot or a nasal spray. Memorial Medical Center- Livingston Educator Mary Norris said children 6 months to 4 years old, people older than 50 years and those who live in nursing homes, college dormitories and day care workers are at the highest risk to contract the disease. Memorial requires its staff to receive the fl u vaccine every year. Employees who have received the vaccine will have a blue tag on their identifi cation badge. Any staff member who refuses the vaccine will be required to wear a face mask through the duration of fl u season. Norris encourages everyone to follow preventative measures against the fl u including frequent handwashing with soap and water, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, throwing away used tissues immediately, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and avoiding people who are sick. Norris also recommended cough or sneezing into your elbow instead of your hand to reduce spreading germs to coworkers or family members. The CDC recommends that everyone get the vaccine in late September or as soon as it becomes available so that their body has time to build up immunity prior to the peak outbreak. "The peak season is in January or February because that's when we are inside and more confi ned," Norris said. "Now is the time to take the vaccine. Once you take the immunization, it takes a few weeks to build up the antibodies. Those antibodies give you permanent immunity to that virus." Norris dispels the myth that waiting to get the vaccine ensures the medicine "lasts" through the winter. She said the CDC and World Health Organization make an educated guess as to which strains will be most prevalent and include inactive strains of three or four most likely suspects in a trivalent vaccine. "Sometimes they guess wrong and you may come in contact with one of the other 2,400 different types of virus." For more information about getting the fl u vaccine, contact Dr. Perez at 936-328-3293 and Dr. Hutchison and Dr. Libreros at 936-327-7799. For those who have limited fi - nancial resources, no insurance and do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, call Jerry Hathorn at Healthy Polk County 936- 646-7290 to see if you meet criteria for a no cost fl u shot. A limited number of free fl u vaccines will be offered for "high risk" adult residents of Polk County who meet the following requirements: Adults age 65 or older, adults (18 years old or older) who smoke, adults with heart disease, lung disease, alcoholism, diabetes, cirrhosis, cochlear implants, and leaks of cerebrospinal fl uid, adults with sickle cell disease, adults who have had their spleen removed, adults who live in nursing homes, adults who live in any institution where there are other people with long-term health problems, adults with conditions that weaken the immune system, such as cancer, HIV, or an organ transplant, adults who receive long-term medications that suppress the immune system, including steroids, and adult Alaskan natives and certain Native American populations over age 50 (includes the Alabama-Coushatta). Don't let the fl u season sneak up on and you are not prepared. Make sure the elderly and young have taken the shot and taken all the precautionary. Another good thing to prevent the fl u and colds is to take some Vitamin C daily. It has been proven to boost your immune system.