The Aurora Visiting Nurse Association of Wisconsin Shoo The Flu & Pneumonia Too! vaccination clinics will begin Oct. 6 and run through Dec. 6. Hundreds of clinics will be held throughout eastern Wisconsin, with no appointment necessary.
"A flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself from influenza and its potentially dangerous complications. Nationally, more than 36,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations are caused by the flu each year," said Lisa Taylor, RN, clinical coordinator for Aurora VNA.
"It's important not just for people who have weakened immune systems to be vaccinated, but for their loved ones as well," Taylor said. "So if a member of your family is in the hospital or nursing home, or has a chronic disease like asthma or diabetes, it's critical for you to be immunized."
One misconception people often have is the idea they will get the flu from an influenza shot. Taylor is quick to dispel that notion. "There is no way that you can contract influenza by being immunized because the vaccine uses inactive or 'killed' viruses," she said. "Influenza is a respiratory disease, which some people confuse with the stomach flu, which is a gastrointestinal ailment."
The Aurora VNA again will hold more than 393 flu clinics in 20 counties throughout eastern Wisconsin. The state's leading agency for flu clinics expects to receive its full supply of flu vaccine, which is arriving in gradual shipments. The initial shipments have been received, with further shipments arriving as the clinics proceed.
"Last year, who we reached more than 80,000 people through our flu clinics," said Taylor. We know there are many more people who ought to be protected from the flu and hope they take advantage of this year's clinics."
For more information about Shoo The Flu clinics, please consult the Web site at www.Aurora.org/flu or call 1-800-548-7580.
Medicare Part B and Medicaid cover the cost of flu and pneumonia vaccinations. For people not on Medicare or Medicaid, flu shots re $30; pneumonia shots are $45.
One new recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control is that parents make sure any of their children who are under the age of 18 receive a flu vaccination. Previously it recommended immunization for children 6 months to 5 years. The full guidelines from the national Centers for Disease Control include:
* Anyone 50 or older
* Children from 6 months to 18 years old.
* Women who will be pregnant during flu season
* Anyone with long-term health problems
* Anyone with a weakened immune system
* Anyone who live with or care for people with weakened immune systems
* Anyone with muscle or nerve disorders that can lead to breathing or swallowing problems
* Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities
* Health care providers
* Anyone who lives with or cares for children
* Anyone who lives with or cares for people 50 years and older
* People who are at risk of serious complications from influenza
* People who provide essential community services
* People who live in residence halls or other crowded conditions
* People who travel to the Southern hemisphere between April and September or in organized tourist groups at any time
* Anyone who wants to reduce his/her chance of catching influenza or spreading influenza to others
Since flu strains change from year to year, it is necessary to be vaccinated annually. All the viruses in the vaccine have been killed, so people cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Aurora VNA clinics provide immunizations to people age 9 and older. Children from 9 to age 18 must be accompanied by a guardian who can sign the consent form for the immunization.
Pneumonia vaccinations also are available at the clinics. A pneumonia shot is recommended if you are 65 or older, or under 65 with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart or lung diseases. Usually, one dose of pneumococcal vaccine is recommended per lifetime.
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