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Flu Season Nears

By Staff | Sep 13, 2011

Palo Alto County Health System is scheduling this year’s first flu vaccination clinic for Emmetsburg at the VFW Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. This clinic is open to anyone presenting a Medicare card or private pay (cash or check). Those wishing to file with insurance or with Medicaid are asked to attend another flu clinic scheduled at a Family Practice Clinic location so your insurance can be filed. Information on the dates and times of other clinics throughout the county will be posted soon on local media and on PACHS’ web site at www.pachs.com.

The clinic doors will not open before 8:30 am, so there is no need to get to the VFW early. Please enter the VFW at the Northeast entrance where volunteers will be ready to help with directions and paperwork. The flu vaccine is $27 per person. Those with Medicare should have their Medicare card available.

A drive-up will also be available at this clinic for those who have trouble walking. The drive-up will be located on the west side of the VFW. To use the drive-up clinic, please follow the posted signs.

Peg McNally, RN, Director of Community Health Services commented, “This will be one of our largest flu clinics this fall, and we will have plenty of staff and volunteers on hand that day to facilitate a large number of people. The VFW has plenty of parking, no stairs, and a large room so it is an ideal place to have our first large clinic.

McNally continues, “The optimal time to get your flu shot begins in mid September and goes through December. The protection from the flu shot lasts through the flu season and does not become effective until approximately two weeks after it is given.”

Influenza (flu) is a serious disease of the nose, throat, and lungs, and it can lead to pneumonia.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in general, everyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can be vaccinated. However, those at high risk for having serious flu complications, and those who care for them are highly recommended to get vaccinated. These include children age 6 months to 5 years, pregnant women, people age 50 years and older, people of any age with chronic medical conditions, people who work in nursing homes and health care facilities, household contacts of persons at high risk for complications, and home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age.

Those who should not be vaccinated without first consulting with a physician include people who have a severe allergy to eggs, those who have had a reaction to the flu vaccine in the past, children less than 6 months of age, or those who have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome. People with a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get vaccinated until their symptoms lessen.

If you have a scheduled physician appointment at one of the three Family Practice Clinics, you may also get your flu vaccination during your appointment. The Family Practice Clinics are not taking walk-ins for flu vaccinations at this time and ask that residents use the public clinics that will be scheduled soon throughout the county.

Watch your local media or the PACHS web site at www.pachs.com for upcoming dates.