News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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Don’t let the flu ruin your holiday season

(November 19, 2007) As the holiday season approaches, public health officials are receiving increased reports of flu-like illness. They want to remind everyone that flu shots are recommended for just about everybody at every age. “We all know how miserable having the flu can be, especially this time of year when we look forward to celebrating holidays with family and friends,” said Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. “Unfortunately, flu is very contagious, even before you develop symptoms. Holiday gatherings can be the perfect environment for spreading the flu virus. The good news is the flu is easily prevented with an annual flu shot.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, an average of 36,000 people die every year from flu and more than 200,000 are hospitalized with serious flu-related complications. The people at highest risk for serious complications are older people, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions.

There is plenty of flu vaccine this season, unlike previous years, when there were world-wide flu vaccine shortages. Flu shots are available though physicians offices, clinics, even grocery stores and pharmacies. The Health Department of Northwest Michigan still has several flu shot clinics planned through its four-county health district—Tuesday, November 20 at Petoskey Middle School, as well as at Health Department offices in Mancelona and Gaylord; Tuesday, November 27 at the Health Department office in Charlevoix; and November 28 at the Health Department office in Harbor Springs. Appointments are required. Flu shots are $25 and pneumonia shots are $30. Medicaid and Medicare are accepted. Children (through age 18) who have no health insurance or whose insurance does not cover immunizations can get their flu shot by making a $10 donation. Flu shot appointments will continue to be available at the Health Department through December or as long as flu vaccine is available.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information about flu shot clinics, call the Health Department at 800-432-4121 or visit