Vaccination ‘cuts down on the spread of the flu virus’

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

Flu season is in full swing, and a representative from the Dubois County Health Department is encouraging most everyone in the area to get a flu shot and remain especially conscious of good hygiene practices during the next six months.

“The more people that are vaccinated, it kind of cuts down on the spread of the flu virus,” said Jo Ann Spaulding, the department’s new director. “It’s all about prevention.”

She added that those who receive the vaccine and still get the flu may experience lessened symptoms. The local health department is administering the shots 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. Appointments are not required. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for protection to develop.

Influenza strikes suddenly and can last several days. Symptoms include fever and chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and a runny or stuffy nose. Spaulding recommended those who exhibit symptoms see a doctor. She said good handwashing can also cut down on the spread of the illness.

Thousands of people die from the flu in the U.S., and many more are hospitalized. Infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and those with certain health conditions or weakened immune systems are at a greater risk of contracting the illness.

Flu season runs from October to May. According to information provided by the health department, there is no live flu virus in flu shots, and the vaccination cannot cause the flu.

“There are many flu shots, and they are always changing,” the document reads. “Each year a new flu vaccine is introduced to protect against three or four viruses that are likely to cause disease in the upcoming flu season. But even when the vaccine doesn’t exactly match these viruses, it may still provide some protection.”

Children between the ages of six months and 8 years old may require two doses of the shot during the same season. Those who have severe or life-threatening allergies or have ever had the rare Guillain-Barré syndrome should not receive the vaccination. People who are ill before receiving the shot may be asked to return when they’re feeling better.




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