October 7, 2008
Influenza is a virus that infects the nose, throat, windpipe and lungs. The virus is highly contagious and is spread from one person to another by coughing, sneezing or talking. Influenza infections occur between October and April of each year.
Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, congestion, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing. Other viruses can cause symptoms similar to influenza, but influenza virus is a more common cause of severe, fatal pneumonia.
Flu shots will be available at Ministry Medical Group – Woodruff, Howard Young Medical Center Campus, 240 Maple Street, Woodruff on October 21, October 28, November 11, November 18 and December 16 from 8:30 a.m. – noon and 1 – 4 p.m. Appointments are necessary. Call 715-356-8140.
Flu shots will be available at Ministry Medical Group – Eagle River, 930 East Wall Street, Eagle River, on October 21, October 28 and November 4 from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Appointments are necessary. Call 715-477-3000.
Every year in the U.S., approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 die from complications of influenza. Most of the people who die are older than 65, but many of those who are hospitalized are younger than age four. Because influenza is a virus, it cannot be successfully treated with antibiotics.
Influenza vaccine will prevent about 70 to 90 of every 100 people who receive it from developing moderate-to-severe influenza infection. It is important to get your influenza vaccine every year because influenza is unique in its ability to change the proteins that reside on the surface of the virus. These changes mean that people naturally infected or immunized one year are usually not protected the next year.
The inactivated influenza vaccine can cause pain, redness or tenderness at the site of injection. It can also cause muscle aches and low-grade fever, but because the vaccine viruses are completely inactivated, they cannot possibly cause influenza. The only side effect from the vaccine, which could be serious, is that of an egg allergy. Because it is made in eggs, the vaccine contains small quantities of egg proteins. People allergic to eggs can have a severe reaction. October and November is the time influenza clinics are being set up around the counties and in medical clinics.
The cost for a flu shot is $25. Insurance can be billed.