To avoid the runny noses, aches, and missed days of work/school (darn) that come with the flu, consider getting yourself over to one of the many clinics set up by the Department of Health that will be giving away FREE FLU SHOTS to anyone over the age of 4 this Saturday. From 8 am until 6 pm, you can just drop by without an appointment and get the vaccine (made up of a mix of what health officials think are the most likely viral culprits to surface this year). The flu is generally nothing more than a nuisance for healthy people but can be catastrophic for those already compromised from other medical conditions. The shot is definitely recommended for the following folk:
• Adults age 50 and over (especially those over 65);
• All children from age 6 months until their 5th birthday;
• All persons age 6 months and older with chronic medical conditions, including heart disease, pulmonary disorders (including asthma), diabetes, kidney disease, hemoglobinopathies, and compromised immune systems (HIV or immunosuppressive therapy);
• People with conditions that can cause breathing problems (such as cognitive dysfunction, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders, or other neuromuscular disorders);
• Pregnant women;
• All residents of nursing homes and chronic-care facilities;
• All children and adolescents, age 6 months to 18 years, receiving long-term aspirin therapy;
• Caregivers and household members of infants younger than 6 months (babies can get the flu at this age, but are too young for a flu shot);
• All close contacts of high-risk groups listed above, such as household members and persons providing home care; and
• All health care workers.
If you don’t find yourself on this list, you probably don’t need the shot and should avoid it to make sure there’s enough to go around for those that do. As always, the DOH would like to remind you that you can’t get the flu from the flu shot. But you might get a kickass band-aid afterwards.
And remember that the best way to prevent common colds and even the flu is keep up your strength (get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, exercise, and eat well). Definitely check out our earlier post on ways to deal with the common cold. Most colds and flu’s can be avoided by WASHING YOUR HANDS.