Shots given in West Valley to swat flu bug


    By Lindsay Dickson

    It won”t just be April showers that keep Utahns inside next month.

    The flu bug has arrived, but if locals hurry they might be able to protect themselves from the bite.

    The Salvation Army has teamed up with the Community Health Nurses office to offer free flu vaccinations on March 13 to anyone 12 years of age or older, to help protect people from the recent outbreak.

    “It”s an easy way to save a lot of people from getting sick,” said Karen Memmot, customer service coordinator at Community Health Services.

    Community Nurse Services is a non-profit nursing organization with five locations throughout Utah, offering a variety of medical services, including immunization, at little or no cost.

    Stacey Hansen, immunization team member for the project, said flu vaccinations are especially effective in protecting people from the most common strains of flu.

    “I know I couldn”t afford to miss two to three weeks of work or school because of the flu,” she said.

    Hansen said there is a two-week incubation period from the time of the vaccine before a patient is completely immune. Although immunity is not immediate, the body begins making antibodies immediately following the injection, building resistance to any exposure to the virus.

    Jana Kettering, public information officer for the Utah Health Department, said 371 cases of the flu have been documented through lab tests this year. Last year”s lab confirmed cases totaled only 130.

    “Most cases of the flu aren”t documented by lab tests because most doctors can recognize and treat symptoms of the flu without a costly lab test,” Kettering said.

    The medical surveillance in the Olympics increased the number of documented cases reported because they were more actively looking for it, she said.

    Kathy Scott, project coordinator at the Salvation Army, said there are common-sense prevention techniques, such as washing hands, that could help avoid illnesses.

    The free flu vaccinations will be available at the Salvation Army store March 13, 3500 S. 3644 W. in West Valley City, Salt Lake County, from 3 to 6 p.m.

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