Flu Season Beginning In Washoe County

By: Vicky Nguyen
By: Vicky Nguyen

A number of people are suffering from sniffles and sneezes and, if that weren't enough, the first case of flu has been recorded by the Washoe County Health Department.

The virus is expected to be especially nasty this year but, fortunately there is no shortage of the flu vaccine.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Flu season started last month and it's prime time to get your vaccination if you haven't yet.

About 1-in-5 people will get the flu this year and for some, it could be deadly.

This is Alice Senegal's first flu shot. In the past she - like millions of Americans - would just suffer through the sickness. Of the suffering, she said: "Sore, can't move, can't eat, it's terrible -and with me having asthma, it triggers my attacks."

This year nurses convinced Alice and her son to take advantage of the unusual abundance of vaccines. More than 85 million doses are available.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 114,000 people will be hospitalized and estimate another 36,000 will die from flu.

Says Margaret Durand, a Family Nurse Practitioner, of the symptoms: "High fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat, and it hits all at once and they feel sick suddenly."

Nurses say children under two, adults 50 and older, and people with chronic heart, lung and kidney diseases are also at high-risk.

And now is the time to get the shots, because the cold weather brings people into close contact. "People are more indoors, doors are closed, air is circulation, everyone is more susceptible."

Like his mother, Darius Senegal isn't taking chances. And thanks to this vaccine, he'll have about a 70 percent chance of not getting the flu this year.

A common myth about the flu vaccine is that it can get you sick. It can't because it's a dead virus. Tthere are some side effects though and people allergic to eggs can't get the flu shot.

The flu shot is fairly inexpensive, usually $15 a dose and Medicare covers it as well.

Too bad they have a vaccine to prevent a cold!

For information about where flu shots are being offered in our area, go to the "links" area on this Web site and scroll down to "Community Flu Shot Info."


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