Flu shots available at VMH Community and Home Care

Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care is offering flu shots every Wednesday afternoon during their regular immunization clinics. The next flu shot clinic will be held Wednesday, October 10 from 1-4 p.m. and again Wednesday, October 17 from 1-6 p.m. The Community and Home Care Immunization Clinic is located on the upper level of Veterans Memorial Hospital.

Immunization clinics are held from 1-6 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays of the month, and from 1-4 p.m. all other Wednesdays. Flu vaccine, pneumonia vaccines and tetanus vaccines will be available. Medicare does cover the costs of a flu shot. Billing for vaccinations will be completed by the Community and Home Care staff, but participants will need to bring their physician’s name and new Medicare number or private insurance card with them. Those who do not have insurance that covers vaccines can also pay for them.

Influenza, also called “the flu”, can cause fever, chills, headache, cough, sore throat and muscle aches to people of any age, and can lead to pneumonia and even death. Most deaths caused by influenza occur in the elderly, the very young or people who have a compromised immune system.

The Center for Disease Control now recommends that everyone age six months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu every year.  Flu shots are highly recommended for the following people:

· Anyone age 50 and over.
· Residents of long term care facilities with chronic medical conditions.
· Any child or adult, including pregnant women, who has a serious long-term health problem with heart disease, anemia, asthma, lung disease, kidney disease or diabetes, and in the past year had to see a doctor regularly or be admitted to a hospital.
· Women who will be more than three months pregnant during influenza season.
· People six months to 18 years of age on long-term aspirin treatment (these people could develop Reye Syndrome if they develop influenza)
· People who are less able to fight infections because of a disease he/she was born with or contracted (like HIV), are receiving treatments with drugs such as steroids or are having cancer treatments with x-rays or drugs.
· Anyone having close contact with people who are at high risk for contracting a serious case of influenza including health care workers and people living with high risk persons.
· Influenza vaccines are also recommended for people in schools and colleges, people who provide important community services, people going to the tropics any time of the year and just anyone who wants to reduce their chance of catching influenza.

An annual flu shot is also encouraged for:

· Healthy children 6-23 months of age.
· Household contacts and out-of-home caretakers of infants from 0-23 months of age, especially those younger than six months.
· People who provide essential community services.
· People at high risk for flu complications who travel to the Southern hemisphere between April and September, or who travel to the tropics or in organized tourist groups at any time.
· People living in dormitories or under other crowded conditions, to prevent outbreaks.
· Anyone else who wants to reduce their chance of catching influenza.

Since the influenza viruses change frequently, they may not always be covered by the vaccine and the vaccine does not protect against other viral infections other than influenza. Anyone receiving the influenza vaccination should be sure to tell their doctor or nurse if they have or have had any of the following symptoms:

· A serious allergy to eggs.
· A serious allergic reaction or other problem after getting the influenza vaccination.
· Were ever paralyzed by Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
· Now have a moderate or severe illness.

Check with a family practice physician with questions about eligibility for the influenza vaccination. For more information, call the Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care Department at 563-568-5660.

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