Health Department set to combat the flu

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    By Kristen Taufer

    Peak flu season is approaching, but luckily there is finally enough vaccine to go around, said Joseph K. Miner, Director of the Utah County Health Department.

    In October, the Utah County Health Department asked people to wait to get flu shots because of a delay in shipping. They are now providing flu shots to everyone, Miner said.

    “After the original shipment covers the high risk, the rest is available to everyone else,” Miner said.

    Utah typically sees major flu outbreaks in February or March, Miner said, and waiting to get a flu shot can actually be beneficial.

    “Immunizing in November and December should give people their best protection right as peak flu season is expected to hit.”

    It is important for individuals with diabetes, asthma, or chronic disease, along with children and elderly to get flu shots, said nurse Lynette Frost.

    Getting a flu shot can also be important for people who are living in close quarters like the dorms, said Stacy Hansen, who works at the Immunization Hotline.

    “You share each others desks. You live in dorm rooms. There”s certainly more of a chance of getting the flu in a setting like that,” Hansen said.

    She also said the Olympics in February will create a higher risk of catching the flu since thousands of people will be converging on the state.

    The most common side effect of flu shots is soreness around the site of the injection, Frost said.

    Some people might experience lethargy, but it”s hard to tell whether the feeling is from the flu shot or just from some other wintertime illness, said Frost.

    Many people worry the flu vaccine will actually give them the flu. Miner said this is not possible since the strain of flu used in the vaccine is dead.

    Anyone looking for flu vaccines can go to the Health Department, 589 S. State St., during open clinics held weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Medicare will cover costs for those with that insurance, while cost for others will be $10 per vaccination, Miner said.

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