Jefferson County offers advice, flu shots
JEFFERSON -- Flu shots are available at the Jefferson County Health Department.
The department is located at 1541 Annex Road, Jefferson and the vaccine clinic is on the lower level of the health department. It is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. No appointments are necessary.
Gail Scott, who is in charge of the department said this week children’s influenza vaccine is now available for children 6 months through 18 years of age who have medical assistance (Badger Care), or are uninsured.
The department will have adult influenza vaccine available starting Oct. 1 for persons 19 years of age or older. The adult influenza vaccine fee is $35 by cash or check, or no charge for individuals with Medicare Part B which is billable by the health department. The health department is unable to bill a Medicare HMO or Medicare Replacement Plan. Adults on medical assistance will need to go to their medical provider or a local pharmacy to receive the adult flu vaccine.
“Influenza can affect anyone,” Scott said. “It is a viral infection that may only be a minor health issue for some, but it can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death for others, especially for those who are very young, elderly, or immunocompromised. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. The nature of the virus is always changing, so every flu season is different and makes it impossible to create a perfect flu vaccine to prevent all flu cases.”
Every year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies and monitors the effects from influenza. On a national level, there are still hundreds of thousands of people who are hospitalized and thousands who die from flu-related causes every year.
Influenza vaccine is not recommended or approved for children younger than 6 months of age or people who have had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the flu vaccine.
“If you have an allergy to eggs or any ingredient in the vaccine, or if you ever had Guillain-Barre Syndrome, talk with your doctor before getting the flu vaccine,” Scott said. “Everyone else who is at least 6 months of age may get a flu vaccine this season.”
It is especially important for certain people to get vaccinated:
-- People who are at high risk of developing serious complications (like pneumonia) if they get sick with the flu.
-- People who have certain medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
-- Pregnant women.
--Children younger than 5 years (and especially those younger than 2).
-- People 65 years and older are also at high risk of complications.
-- Health care personnel.
-- People who live with or care for infants who are less than 6 months old.
-- People who live with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications because of certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
“The best way to protect yourself, your family, and your community against the flu is to get vaccinated each year,” Scott said. “When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.”
Flu vaccination should begin soon after vaccine becomes available in order to help prevent any influenza from spreading among a community. However, flu vaccination is beneficial for as long as flu viruses are circulating and will continue to be offered until the end of February. Remember, it takes up to two weeks after vaccination to build immunity after receiving a flu vaccine, so if you become exposed to the flu within those two weeks you may still get sick.
“The flu shot cannot cause flu illness,” Scott said. “Flu vaccines that are administered with a needle are currently made in two ways. In the first, flu vaccine viruses that have been ‘inactivated’ and cannot be infectious, or second, no flu vaccine viruses at all which is the case for recombinant influenza vaccine. Common side-effects from the flu shot are soreness, redness or tenderness where the shot was given, and occasionally low-grade fever, headache or muscle aches.
“If you still feel like you get flu-like symptoms after receiving a seasonal flu vaccine, please talk with your provider,” Scott said. “Some possible explanations are you may be experiencing symptoms from a different illness, such as rhinoviruses that appear flu-like, or you were exposed to the flu shortly before your flu vaccine or during the 2-week period after getting the vaccine, or you were exposed to a strain of flu virus that the flu vaccine does not protect against. No person’s body reacts to vaccines in the same way, and some people who get vaccinated may still get sick.”
For more information about influenza or the influenza vaccine contact the Jefferson County Health Department at 920-674-7275.