Bowling Green Times

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No Flu for you

Posted on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Board members of Pike County Memorial Hospital are feeling a little healthier this week after receiving flu shots at their last meeting.

The Pike County Memorial Hospital (PCMH) encourages Pike Countians to get their flu shot at one of the upcoming clinics or contact the hospital or clinics to schedule an appointment. Flu shots are $17 or free with a valid Medicare/Medicaid card.

“Getting the flu vaccine is simple, and it’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu,” said Debbie Beckman, PCMH Family Nurse Practitioner, who practices at Bowling Green Clinic.

For millions of people each year, the flu can bring a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue and days spent in bed instead of at work or school. However, one may not realize that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications each year. The flu can also be deadly. Between 1976 and 2007, CDC estimates that annual flu-associated deaths in the United States have ranged from a low of about 3,000 people to a high of about 49,000 people.

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. Anyone can get the flu, but some people are at greater risk for serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, that can lead to hospitalization and even death. For those at greater risk for complications, getting the flu vaccine is especially important. People at greater risk include:

•Children younger than 5 years old, but especially children younger than 2 years old

•Pregnant women

•People with certain medical conditions like asthma, diabetes (type 1 and 2), or heart and lung disease

•People 65 years and older

Flu vaccines are designed to protect against the three influenza viruses that experts predict will be the most common during the upcoming 2011-12 season. Each season, this includes an influenza B virus, an influenza A (H1N1) virus and an influenza A (H3N2) virus. These are the three virus subtypes that are circulating most commonly among people today.