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Vaccinations for flu now being offered

The Herald-Dispatch - 9/28/2017

The Putnam Herald

WINFIELD - Green leaves still hung on as though they would never fall off as the Tri-State enjoyed a hot, sunshiny first weekend of fall - a far cry from the dark, dreary picture of what flu season ought to be.

It's true that flu season hasn't yet arrived in the area: the Centers for Disease Control reports only a handful of "sporadic" cases in West Virginia and Kentucky as nationwide infection levels plateau at their average annual lows.

But it's been said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - or as it applies with to the flu, a few minutes and a pinprick is more than worth avoiding days of misery with the season on the horizon.

The Putnam County Health Department and the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department are now offering influenza vaccinations.

Vaccinations are available at the health departments from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

"Everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccination by the end of October, if possible," Stephanie DeWees, RN, director of clinic services for the health departments, said in a news release. "Getting vaccinated later is still beneficial, even as late as January."

High-dose vaccine is available to provide additional flu protection for individuals 65 and older.

Along with the elderly, medical professionals urge parents to get their children vaccinated for flu.

A flu infection can be especially hard on a child and may spark a week or more of aches, fevers and vomiting, said Dr. Jennifer Gerlach, assistant professor of pediatrics at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. Children also generally face more potential exposure to the flu through public schools than the average adult.

"Flu shots are the only way to not get the flu unless they stay away from sick people," Gerlach said. "And if you go to public school, that's not going to happen."

Children may also be less willing to take the vaccine for fear of needles or doctors in general. Gerlach advised parents of school-aged children to have the conversation explaining the benefits of the shot against the risk of infection.

"It's one little stick for preventing potentially a week of illness," Gerlach said.

DeWees said flu vaccinations are given along with the other services offered by the health departments. She noted Wednesdays are busy clinic days and waiting times on Fridays are often shorter. She encouraged individuals to take advantage of the shorter waiting times on Fridays to get flu vaccinations.

The Putnam County Health Department is located at 11878 Winfield Road in Winfield. The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is located at 108 Lee St., in Charleston.


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