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Kent County excels in flu vaccinations for kids

Children rank tops in state – Vaccinations are currently available

Have you received your vaccination against the flu yet? Mid-season estimates released today by the Michigan Department of Community Health suggest that Kent County residents are doing very well in getting children vaccinated this year.  Children in Kent County have the best flu vaccination rate in the state: 30% under 18 have received their vaccinations.  Here’s a look at where Kent County children stand:
6 months through 4 years      44.4%    Second highest in state   (Ottawa Co. – 46.3%)
5-12 years of age     30.9%    Third highest in state (Marquette County – 33.7%)
13-18 years of age    16.7%    Highest in state

While influenza activity for the 2011-12 flu season is just starting to be diagnosed, now is an ideal time to vaccinate. “You should note that the vaccination can take about two weeks to become effective,” says Cathy Raevsky, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “Flu vaccines for children and adults are safe, and we have plenty of injection and nasal mist available right now.” Kent County adults rank 8th in the state for flu vaccinations at 13 percent.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say last year’s flu season led to 115 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric deaths. Six were Michigan children. More than half (51.2 percent) of Michigan children 6 months through 4 years were vaccinated against influenza last flu season; that ranks our state 45th in the nation. The national flu vaccine average level for children in that age group was 63.6 percent.
Signs and symptoms of flu include fever (or feeling feverish/chills), cough and/or sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults).  Not everyone with flu will have a fever, or experience all of the symptoms.
Be sure to check out the Kent County Health Department website, “Stick it to the Flu” at http://www.stickittotheflu.com/ to learn more about flu vaccinations, prevention tips and treatment, or call (616) 632-7200 to make an appointment.

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