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Friday, October 26, 2007

It's Flu Shot Time Again

The Center for Disease Control and Protection says at their website "The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year."

The flu shot or the nasal-spray flu vaccine are the two ways people can receive the vaccination.

Flu shots are encouraged by the CDC for "people at high risk for complications from the flu, such as seniors 50 years or older, people with certain chronic medical conditions, and people who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities."

Pictured in the photo is senior citizen Ruth Wampler, age 94, receiving her flu shot from nurse Mary Jane Kipper, Maxim Healthcare Services, at the Central Coast Seniors Center, San Luis Obispo County, California. Ruth's daughter Ellen, a volunteer at the Center, stands nearby. (Photo by Kristi Gott.)

The CDC says that October or November are the best times to get a flu shot, but if you wait until December or later you can still be vaccinated.

Flu season begins in October and can last as long as until May.

The CDC website lists six steps people can take to reduce the chances of getting the flu. Avoiding close contact with someone who has the flu is step one. Staying home when you're sick can help prevent the spread of the flu.

Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze will also help protect others. Washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your mouth, nose or eyes will help to protect you from getting the flu.

You can find a clinic offering flu shots by going to the site at the American Lung Association and using the clinic locator by putting in your zip code. Other places offering flu shots include your local drug stores, senior centers, and medical clinics.

Influenza can lead to pneumonia so it is a potentially life threatening illness, especially for elderly people or people who have frail health.

I spent some time yesterday at our local Seniors' Center during the flu shot hours, and there was a steady stream of seniors getting their flu shots. Like Ruth Wampler, pictured above, they will have the protection of the flu vaccine before winter gets here.

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