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Tag Archive | "flu season"

MDA offers flu Shots to those affected by muscle disease


 

MDA’s online Flu Season Resource Center helps families prepare

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is offering assistance with the cost of flu vaccines for individuals affected by muscle disease, including muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases.

MDA offers this service annually for adults and children living with muscle disease who, because of compromised respiratory function, including difficulty coughing or clearing fluid from the lungs, are at increased risk of serious and possibly life-threatening complications from the flu.

Through MDA, individuals affected by muscle disease can receive a flu shot through their local MDA-sponsored clinic, or they can receive reimbursement from MDA (up to $35) for the cost of flu vaccines received from licensed health professionals, including those located at retail pharmacies.

“We can’t keep flu season from coming, but there’s a lot we can do to prepare and help protect everyone from its impact and complications,” said MDA Executive Vice President & Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Valerie Cwik, M.D. “All strains of the flu can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening illness for those living with a muscle disease. We encourage families to learn more about how to prevent influenza and prepare for the coming flu season.”

Families and individuals served by MDA can visit MDA’s Flu Season Resource Center at http://mda.org/flu-season-support to receive up-to-date information and tips for flu prevention, what to do should infection occur and how to obtain a vaccine through MDA. 

Flu seasons are unpredictable and can begin as early as October, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people get their flu vaccine as soon as it is available in their area. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to be protected from the flu.

For more information about obtaining a flu vaccine, individuals affected by any of the diseases in MDA’s program may call their local MDA office at (800) 572-1717.

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Flu vaccinations at Health Department


Injections and mist protect against seasonal flu

_HEA-Flu-Vaccination_US_Navy

From the Kent County Health Department

 

Flu season is fast approaching. While Kent County has not had any cases reported at this time, now is the time to schedule an appointment to get immunized. The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. The cost of the vaccine is $25 for injectable three strain vaccine, $29 for preservative free three strain vaccine, $30 for preservative free four strain vaccine or $33 for FluMist nasal spray (a live, preservative-free, four strain vaccine).

“Last season, there was a steep increase in the number of confirmed flu cases in Kent County, in comparison with the 2011-2012 season,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “Last season’s flu packed quite a punch for those who caught it. KCHD received dozens of calls from people looking to get vaccinated in December and January.” Since it can take about two weeks to become effective, now is the time to think about vaccinations. The flu can have serious complications for children under the age of five, the elderly, and people with already-weakened immune systems. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age to protect against flu viruses.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. It impacts schools and workplaces, but it can be prevented.

The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and in some cases, it can be deadly. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, 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 experience all of the symptoms.

Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted.

To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at 742-4FLU (358).

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Flu is on the rise in Kent County


By Judy Reed

The latest statistics on influenza show that schools have been hit four times harder this year than in the previous three years.

According to the Kent County Health Department, at the end of last week, 2.36 percent of students across the county were out with influenza. Between 2006 and 2008, the average at this time of year was only .52 percent, or just over one-half of one percent.

“While we are seeing an unprecedented number of school-aged students out with flu-like illnesses very early in the season,” said Cathy Raevsky, Administrative Health Officer for KCHD, “this does not come as a surprise. We anticipated that seasonal and H1N1 influenza would be very active this fall, and that’s exactly what has happened as kids spend more time in close quarters and flu season gets underway.”

Many schools across West Michigans are closing due to the number of student absences. According to Cedar Springs Superintendent Ron McDermed, they also have seen an increase in absences, but not enough to close. “Our buildings today are running between nine and 14 percent absences,” said McDermed. “Although this is higher than normal for this time of year, it is not cause for alarm. Buildings and districts closing are in the 25 percent range. The idea of closing is to stop the spread of the virus, so if we begin to notice a marked spike upward, we would close to protect the well-being of our kids.”

According to Assistant Superintendent Dave Cairy, they call the numbers of absences in daily to the Health Department, who then keeps track of how many cases they have.

The KCHD statistics do not differentiate between the different types of influenza.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that spreads through respiratory secretions from an infected person. Most people recover from the flu without needing medical treatment. Simple precautions can help prevent the spread of flu. KCHD strongly recommends that anyone with flu-like symptoms stay home for at least 24 hours after fever subsides without the use of fever-reducing medications. Also, it is important to cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and wash hands often to avoid spreading germs.

Vaccination is the number one way to prevent the flu. The Health Department recommends getting a seasonal flu vaccine as early as possible. Because H1N1 was identified too late to be included in this year’s seasonal flu shot, two shots are recommended this year—one for seasonal influenza and one for novel H1N1 influenza. Novel H1N1 flu vaccinations are expected to be widely available in the coming months and when they are, they will be administered by area physicians, pharmacies, and special clinics at KCHD. As novel H1N1 flu vaccine clinic dates and times become available, they will be posted at stickittotheflu.com as well as on the vaccination information line, (616) 742-4FLU.

Check out our health section on page 7 to find out where flu shots are being offered next week.

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Tips to avoid the flu this season


(StatePoint)  Do you cough without covering your mouth while standing in the lunch line? Or sneeze loudly into the air when squeezed onto the morning bus?

Nearly all Americans (96 percent) have seen people do things like this, and a shocking three quarters say they are guilty themselves.

Even with heightened concerns during this year’s flu season, Americans admit that sleeves are a fine substitute for tissues: one in four wipes his or her nose on them. One in ten is even more gross: skipping sleeves altogether in favor of hands to wipe his nose and then extending for a handshake or reaching for a door handle.

So, what are we doing about it? In a recent survey by the Water Quality and Health Council, Americans come clean; we’re not doing much.

Despite constant warnings from health officials and a recent “Risk Analysis” study showing a 31 percent chance of infection through hand contact with contaminated surfaces, few Americans frequently clean the public surfaces they use.

In fact, as opposed to wiping down the surfaces they come in contact with, a whopping 42 percent of Americans are opting to avoid public spaces.

But staying home isn’t the answer. Taking control of your environment is.

“Knowing that flu viruses can live on inanimate surfaces for hours or even days should motivate people to take personal responsibility to protect themselves,” said Dr. Chris Wiant, chair of the Water Quality and Health Council. “This means disinfecting surfaces, when feasible, using disinfecting wipes or chlorine bleach, especially at home and at work, as well as washing your hands and practicing good personal hygiene habits.”

“Contacting school administrators, office managers and even health club managers will help you understand their cleaning and disinfecting protocol and how you can better safeguard against the flu,” he added.

To help people prevent the spread of H1N1, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping surfaces clean by wiping them down with a disinfectant according to the directions on the product label.

In addition to cleaning surfaces, the CDC advises:
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after use. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
* If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making them sick.

For more information on how to prevent the spread of H1N1 through surface disinfection, visit www.fluandhealth.com.

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H1N1 vaccination arrives in Grand Rapids


Health department employee Ann Ivy unpacking the first shipment of novel H1N1 vaccination in a cooler Tuesday morning.

Health department employee Ann Ivy unpacking the first shipment of novel H1N1 vaccination in a cooler Tuesday morning.

The H1N1 vaccine will soon be available to the public in Kent County. According to the Kent County Health Department, they received 3,800 doses of the H1N1 novel vaccine Tuesday morning, and expect 16,000 doses to arrive this week.

These doses will be given to hospital medical personnel and emergency medical responders first. Most of the vaccine will be shipped directly to hospitals.

Subsequent deliveries will be dispensed in a variety of settings and are anticipated to arrive in Kent County within the month. Providers will dispense the vaccine first to people in the following priority groups:
•    healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
•    pregnant women
•    people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age
•    people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old
•    people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.
Once vaccination demand has been met for priority groups, vaccination will begin for anyone who would like the novel H1N1 influenza vaccination. Currently, no novel H1N1 influenza is available to the public. They anticipate that the vaccine will become available to everyone later this month. When it becomes available, H1N1 vaccine will be offered at participating doctors’ offices, retail outlets, and at all health department locations. KCHD is not taking appointments for vaccination at this time.

Please monitor (616) 742-4FLU and stickittotheflu.com for updates on the availability of novel H1N1 influenza vaccine in Kent County. Dates, times, and locations for novel H1N1 flu vaccinations will be posted as they become available.

For information on where to get the seasonal flu shot, please check with participating pharmacies and physicians or visit www.spectrum-health.org/flu to find a link for seasonal flu shot clinics. KCHD offers seasonal flu shots for children only. The flu hotline, (616) 742-4FLU has further details.

Finally, local health departments are responsible for distribution of novel H1N1 flu vaccine in respective jurisdictions. Please note that the process for distribution of vaccine in Kent County may differ from the process in neighboring jurisdictions. This could cause confusion in various reading, viewing, and listening areas, so it’s important to gather information specific to each jurisdiction.

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Avoid the flu blues: it’s time for seasonal flu vaccines


Avoid the flu blues: it’s time for seasonal flu vaccines
Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 1, 2009 – D&W Fresh Markets, Family Fare, Felpausch, Glen’s and VG’s neighborhood stores are pleased to announce beginning October 1, they will be providing seasonal flu and pneumonia vaccinations. This provides convenient locations for area residents to receive low cost seasonal flu and pneumonia vaccinations and educational materials.
“We urge area residents to take advantage of this low-cost community service and protect themselves against both influenza and pneumonia,” said Eddie Garcia, director of pharmacy for Spartan Stores. “According to the Centers for Disease Control, the single best way to protect against the seasonal flu is to get your vaccination each year.”
The cost of a seasonal flu shot is $25 while pneumonia vaccine, available at select locations only, is available for a $50 charge. Participants may pay with cash, check or money order. Medicare part B is also accepted unless the participant has a supplement insurance provider. Summit Health is administering seasonal flu shots and pneumonia vaccines.
Who should get the seasonal flu vaccine?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/; in general, anyone who wants to reduce the chances of getting the flu should get vaccinated every year. Annual vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or people who live with or care for high-risk individuals.
People who are at high risk for complications from seasonal flu should get a seasonal flu vaccine each year are:
Children 6 months through 18 years of age,
Pregnant women,
People 50 years of age and older,
People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, and
People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from seasonal flu should get a seasonal flu vaccine each year are:
Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu (see above),
Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated), and
Healthcare workers.
The flu and pneumonia vaccinations are not recommended for anyone with egg, chicken or feather allergies.
If you have any questions regarding the 2009 seasonal flu vaccination, please consult your physician. In order to ensure the safety of each customer, Summit Health registered nurses will provide appropriate health screenings prior to administering any vaccines. The timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later. The flu usually spreads from person-to-person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks and the virus is transmitted into the air. Unlike many other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, the flu causes severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people. Each year in the United States on average, 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu; on average, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications, and; about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes.
Seasonal Flu and Pneumonia shots will be given at area Family Fare stores on:
October 6, 2009, 10-2 p.m. – 565 South State, Sparta
October 6, 2009, 1-5pm – 5241 Northland Dr., Grand Rapids
October 15, 2009, 1-5pm – 4175 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs
October 27, 2009, 10-2 p.m. – 5241 Northland Dr., Grand Rapids
October 30, 2009, 10-2 p.m. – 4175 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs
November 3, 2009, 10-2 p.m. – 565 South State, Sparta

Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 1, 2009 – D&W Fresh Markets, Family Fare, Felpausch, Glen’s and VG’s neighborhood stores are pleased to announce beginning October 1, they will be providing seasonal flu and pneumonia vaccinations. This provides convenient locations for area residents to receive low cost seasonal flu and pneumonia vaccinations and educational materials.

“We urge area residents to take advantage of this low-cost community service and protect themselves against both influenza and pneumonia,” said Eddie Garcia, director of pharmacy for Spartan Stores. “According to the Centers for Disease Control, the single best way to protect against the seasonal flu is to get your vaccination each year.”

The cost of a seasonal flu shot is $25 while pneumonia vaccine, available at select locations only, is available for a $50 charge. Participants may pay with cash, check or money order. Medicare part B is also accepted unless the participant has a supplement insurance provider. Summit Health is administering seasonal flu shots and pneumonia vaccines.

Who should get the seasonal flu vaccine?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/; in general, anyone who wants to reduce the chances of getting the flu should get vaccinated every year. Annual vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or people who live with or care for high-risk individuals.

People who are at high risk for complications from seasonal flu should get a seasonal flu vaccine each year are:

Children 6 months through 18 years of age,

Pregnant women,

People 50 years of age and older,

People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, and

People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from seasonal flu should get a seasonal flu vaccine each year are:

Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu (see above),

Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated), and

Healthcare workers.

The flu and pneumonia vaccinations are not recommended for anyone with egg, chicken or feather allergies.

If you have any questions regarding the 2009 seasonal flu vaccination, please consult your physician. In order to ensure the safety of each customer, Summit Health registered nurses will provide appropriate health screenings prior to administering any vaccines. The timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later. The flu usually spreads from person-to-person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks and the virus is transmitted into the air. Unlike many other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, the flu causes severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people. Each year in the United States on average, 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu; on average, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications, and; about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes.

Seasonal Flu and Pneumonia shots will be given at area Family Fare stores on:

October 6, 2009, 10-2 p.m. – 565 South State, Sparta

October 6, 2009, 1-5pm – 5241 Northland Dr., Grand Rapids

October 15, 2009, 1-5pm – 4175 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs

October 27, 2009, 10-2 p.m. – 5241 Northland Dr., Grand Rapids

October 30, 2009, 10-2 p.m. – 4175 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs

November 3, 2009, 10-2 p.m. – 565 South State, Sparta

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Seasonal flu clinics begin


Flu shots available throughout community

Spectrum Health is offering the flu vaccine in multiple locations throughout the community in the coming weeks, to encourage as many residents as possible to protect themselves from seasonal influenza.

Starting this month, the Spectrum Health Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) is offering over 200 community flu shot clinics. Flu shots are also available on a walk-in basis at the five Spectrum Health Urgent Care Centers from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Spectrum Health Medical Group primary care providers are offering the vaccine on an appointment basis.

“We all need to make an effort to protect our families and our community from the negative health and productivity impacts of influenza,” said Richard S. Rasmussen, MD, preventive medicine specialist, Spectrum Health. “Good hygiene, avoiding close contact with others and staying home when you’re sick will help prevent the spread of the disease. Immunization provides the best protection.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), flu vaccinations are recommended for people at high risk for complications from the flu, including:

  • Children ages six months to their 19th birthday
  • Pregnant women
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People of any age with certain medical conditions
  • People who live in nursing homes and long-term care facilities

Flu  shots area also recommended for people who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:

  • Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than six months of age, as these children are too young to be vaccinated
  • Health care workers

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu shots are particularly important for pregnant women. A study published September 2008 in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that when a pregnant woman receives a flu shot at least a month before her due date, her baby will have a high degree of immunity to the flu for the first six months of life.

Recent outbreaks of the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, have elevated concerns about this year’s seasonal flu. The current vaccine for seasonal flu does not provide protection against H1N1. More information about the H1N1 vaccine and how it will be distributed is expected in the next few weeks. More information about H1N1 is available through the CDC.

Individuals with questions about the seasonal flu vaccine or the H1N1 vaccine can call the Spectrum Health Flu Helpline at (616) 486-3939 or visit spectrum-health.org/flu for locations and times. No appointment is needed.

The cost of this year’s seasonal flu vaccine is $30 at most locations; $35 at primary care providers. Cash and checks are accepted forms of payment at VNA clinics. Cash, checks and credit cards can be used at Spectrum Health Medical Group locations and Urgent Care Centers. Some insurance companies cover some or all of the cost of the vaccine. VNA offers a mist inhaler as an alternative to the injection for $35. Preservative-free flu shots are available through VNA, but must be scheduled by appointment by calling (616) 486-3050.

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Health Department gearing up for flu season


Grand Rapids, MI – In preparation for the upcoming flu season, the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is making plans to educate and vaccinate Kent County residents this fall. The novel H1N1 flu that garnered much attention last spring is expected to circulate with seasonal influenza viruses during the 2009-2010 flu season.

“There has been much speculation that this fall and winter could bring more severe illness related to the flu,” said Cathy Raevsky, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “By planning now, we hope to increase awareness of the flu this fall through education and vaccination, and mitigate the effects of seasonal and novel influenza A H1N1 in our community.”

H1N1 emerged as a new type of flu last spring and in June, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that a global pandemic was underway. The virus continues to spread. Infections have been comparable in severity to those of seasonal flu but because influenza viruses can mutate, it could become more severe.

Symptoms of both types of flu include fever, chills, cough, runny nose, headache, body aches, and fatigue.

KCHD will work with schools to educate students and staff on flu prevention; run ads to heighten awareness of the flu; work with partners like 2-1-1 to make sure information on seasonal and H1N1 flu is available; and prepare to make H1N1 vaccine accessible to everyone in Kent County. This vaccine will be separate from seasonal flu vaccine.

Everyone can take measures to avoid becoming sick this year. The number one way to avoid the flu is to get a flu shot each year. Other protective measures include:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of the tissue.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever subsides without the use of fever-reducing medicine. Stay away from others to avoid making them sick.

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