By Hayley Shauklas
The next time you think about ignoring a winter cold or cough, you might want to think again.
Utah county health officials saw so many cases of whooping cough last year that this year they are getting a head start on booster shots.
Once thought to be a disease of the past, whooping cough cases have surged well above the national average. Last year, Utah county had 162 cases.
Public information officer Lance Madigan said flu season peaks during the months of February and March. He urges people to get their flu shots before it’s too late for infants and children.
“We just need to look at protecting them by what we refer to as cocooning — or a herd community — protecting those around them to limit exposure to the children who can’t be immunized,” Madigan said.
With kindergarten and seventh-grade registration coming up, Timpanogos Elementary School hosted a flu clinic on Wednesday afternoon. With hopes to prevent the spreading of diseases, health officials gave whooping cough, flu, tetanus, and diphtheria booster shots to the public.
Terry Jackson, a public health nurse who works at the clinic, said helping to promote awareness is key.
“In the past, we usually do flu clinics in the school system, and they try to get everyone vaccinated across Utah county,” Jackson said.
To spread the word, health officials advertise in the newspaper, Facebook, and with fliers handed out at local elementary schools.
The next flu clinic will be on Feb. 7 at Taylor Elementary School from 3 to 5:30 p.m.
More details about upcoming clinics can be found on the Utah county health department website at utahcountyonline.org.