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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, October 11, 2019

Health Department urging residents to get flu shot




The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department is offering flu shots at all locations. Anyone 6 months or older is encouraged to get the vaccine.

Medicare, TennCare and select other insurance providers can be billed. Some people might be eligible for free or reduced cost vaccine.

The influenza virus is easily spread from person to person, warns the Health Department in a news release. Sneezing, coughing and talking produce infectious droplets that eventually contact the mouth, nose and mucous membranes of another person. In this way, the virus moves rapidly through the population.

When the virus reaches someone who’s vaccinated, not only are they less likely to get the flu, they are also less likely to transmit the virus to others. The more people who are vaccinated, the more difficult it is for the virus to spread, says the Health Department.

“Getting a flu shot is the most effective way to prevent catching the flu,” says Health Department Nurse Sharon Goforth. “When you’re protected and others around you are protected, the virus has nowhere to go.”

Young children, adults aged 65 years or older, pregnant women and people with certain chronic medical conditions are at risk for more serious complications from the flu. According to the Center for Disease Control model, the 2018-2019 flu season saw as many as 647,000 hospitalizations and up to 61,200 deaths in the US.

During the same period, 116 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to CDC.

Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.

The nasal mist flu vaccine is available this year in limited quantities to individuals age 2-49 years.

Other preventive measures include:

• Wash hands often with soap and warm water

• Avoid people who are sick

• Cover your cough or sneeze

• Keep your immune system healthy

• If you become sick, seek medical care and remain at home

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. These usually last from a few days to less than two weeks. It is possible to infect others even when you do not show any symptoms.

Flu vaccine is available at all Health Department locations:

• 3rd Street campus, 423 209-8340

• Ooltewah Health Center, 423 238-4269

• Sequoyah Health Center, 423 842-3031

• Birchwood Health Center, 423 961-0446

Information

Source: The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department