Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
Visit us at www.nwhealth.org
Seasonal flu shots appointments available in Elk Rapids on October 13
H1N1 (swine) flu shots will be available soon
(October 1, 2009) The flu season is starting and will last through the fall and winter. More than one kind of flu virus will be spreading this season, including seasonal flu and the 2009 H1N1 flu.
"The best way to protect yourself against the seasonal flu is to get a seasonal flu shot every year," said Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "Different flu viruses circulate each year and the strains of influenza virus that cause seasonal flu change almost every flu season, which is why a different influenza vaccine is recommended each year."
Public health nurses from the Health Department will be offering seasonal flu shots on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Lakeland Elementary School in Elk Rapids. Appointments are required and can be made by calling 800-432-4121. Cost for a seasonal flu shot is $25; Medicaid and Medicare covers the cost of the seasonal flu shot and will be accepted on site.
Meyerson said seasonal flu shots are recommended for nearly everyone. According to the CDC, the only people who should not get a seasonal flu shot are those who are allergic to eggs, who have had a previous severe reaction to a flu shot, or who have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine is not available yet, although local public health officials have been told to expect their first doses soon. The CDC has identified the following “vaccine priority groups” because individuals in these categories are more likely to develop complications from the H1N1 flu:
- Pregnant women
- Household contacts of infants under six months old (they cannot get immunized against H1N1 flu)
- All individuals age six months through 24
- Adults 24 to 64 who have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of developing complications from the flu.
H1N1 flu shots will be available for adults 65 and older after the priority vaccine groups have been immunized.
Good habits can help prevent the spread of both types of flu.
Practice every day actions to avoid becoming ill:
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 vaccination or to schedule a seasonal flu shot, call the Health Department at 800-432-4121.
- Every time you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and throw used tissues in the trash.
- Wash your hands often, especially after you cough or sneeze.
- Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use alcohol-based hand cleaners if soap and water are not available.
- Wash your hands before and after preparing food or eating, after using the restroom, before and after touching your nose, eyes, or mouth, and after touching items that may have been exposed to bodily fluids.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Stay home if are sick with flu symptoms.
If you get the flu, you can get sick and can spread the flu to others at home, at work, and in the community. Symptoms of flu include fever or chills and cough or sore throat. In addition, symptoms of flu can include runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting. Stay home if you are sick until 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius), or signs of a fever (have chills, feel very warm, have a flushed appearance, or are sweating), or seven days, whichever is longer. This should be determined without the use of fever-reducing medicines (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen).
- Make contingency plans for your family.
Make plans to care for sick household members or for children if schools dismiss students or child care programs close. Be prepared in case you get sick and need to stay home. Have the following items on hand: a supply of fever-reducing medicines that contain acetaminophen or ibuprofen, alcohol-based hand cleaners, tissues, and other items that may be useful and help avoid the need to make trips out in public while you are sick.
- Learn about the flu.
Learn about the flu and what you can do. To find out more about preparing for the flu, go to www.nwhealth.org for links to CDC resources for parents and caregivers, day care centers, schools, and colleges, employers, and more.