A shot in the arm

VNA says now is the time to get your flu vaccine

For those in the area who have not had a flu shot yet, the time is now, said the public health manager for the Visiting Nurse Association in Craig.

The VNA is holding several drop-in clinics through the week. Flu shots cost $18 and pneumonia shots cost $20.

Susan Bowler said flu season runs from December through February "if it is on time."

A popular misconception is the flu shot will give people the flu, Bowler said.

"It can give you a sore arm, and that's something we expect, but it won't give you the flu," Bowler said.

Bowler said there are hundreds of viruses out there that a person can catch.

"Then they come in, they're already coming down with something, they get the shot and they think it's the flu," Bowler said.

But Bowler said because the virus contained in the shot is inactive, those receiving the shot cannot get the flu from the inoculation.

People who can get the shot are urged to get the shot soon because it takes about two weeks to take affect in the body.

Those in the high-risk group who should be getting the shots include those who are 50 years old or older, residents of a long-term care facility, people who have health problems, such as heart or lung ailments or asthma or diabetes, Bowler said. This group also includes youth who are undergoing long-term asthma therapy, pregnant women after their first trimester, or anyone who comes in close contact with this group.

Bowler said those who should not get the vaccine include anyone who has had a serious allergic reaction to eggs or a serious reaction to a previous dose of flu shot or if they have a history of Guilliam-Barre syndrome.

Sue Birch, also of the VNA, said flu shots are important because people need to keep in mind that flu viruses come in cycles, such as storms, and a pandemic outbreak, such as a 100-year flood, could be on the horizon.

The next big illness, Birch said, will not be something such as small pox but an outbreak of the flu.

Birch and Bowler said they would like people to come in to scheduled shot clinics but if they are homebound, a nurse can make a trip to their home to administer a shot.

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