Submitted by Barb McKown

The leaves are changing, the temperatures are cooling and the sniffles are coming out. The best way to prevent those sniffles from turning into the flu is to get your yearly flu shot.

Minnie Hamilton Health System would like to announce they will begin offering flu shots on Monday, October 15, 2007. The shots will be available in all clinics and can be scheduled as a nurse appointment by calling 354-9244.

Anyone under the age of 18 will need to be accompanied by an adult. Children under age 12 will need to be seen by a provider. The cost will be $20 for adults and $21 for children. When appropriate, insurance will be billed.

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

The best prevention is a vaccination annually. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that every year, 5-20% of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications and about 36,000 people die from the flu. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions are at higher risk for serious flu complications.

Symptoms of flu include: fever (usually high), headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuff nose, muscle aches, and stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes. Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza.

MHHS has received a significant shipment of vaccinations so the shots are available for anyone wishing to receive them. Remember, call 354-9244 and ask to schedule your flu shot appointment.