Amidst a deadly flu outbreak sweeping the nation infection rates in Nevada remain low. So far, only 22 cases have been confirmed and no deaths have been reported state-wide. Still, that number is up more than 50% from just two weeks ago, and health officials warn that the season is just getting started. "Our activity is not as high as some other areas," says Heidi Parker, Executive Director of Immunize Nevada, "but we know that we haven't reached that peak, so that potential is definitely still there."
Many people have had a flu shot, but some people don't think they need it. They say they feel healthy. Others claim the vaccine is just government propaganda. For some it's the price of getting the shot that's intimidating, but Parker says not having it can be even more costly. "What's cost prohibitive is when you miss work, or you have to stay home with your sick kids. That cost creates a pretty large economic burden on our communities."
Some families think they've already had the flu after a Norovirus outbreak hit local schools late last year, but the symptoms of that illness are very different. Norovirus causes, stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea. Symptoms of the flu are mostly respiratory, causing coughing, sore throat, stuffy nose, fever and body ache.
If you still need a flu shot, finding out where you can go is easy. All you have to do is go to the web site flu.gov. You'll find a widget on the page where you can plug in your zip code. It will give you a list of flu shot providers in your neighborhood. Be sure to call before you go, as many locations are quickly running out. The shots cost about $32.00 out of pocket, but most are covered by insurance. Assistance is available on site for low income families.
For kids and those who can't stand needles, nasal spray vaccine like Flumist is available. In some cases though the live, weakened virus in it can leave you feeling a little run down. For the rest of us, health officials say the shot will not make you sick but could leave you with a little soreness at the injection site.
If you're getting a flu shot, don't forget to enter Immunize Nevada's "Give us Your Best Shot" contest. Just take a picture of you or someone else getting a flu shot. Upload it to their Facebook page, and you'll be entered to win one of 6 $150 gift cards! For more information, check out the links below.