Every fall brings a new flu bug to challenge our immune systems. The flu virus adapts each year and can be hard to predict. The flu vaccination is developed with the latest strains in mind, and often offers good protection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), this year’s shot protects against influenza A and B, and was recently updated to better protect against the B/Victoria component and the influenza A component. It comes in both shot form and nasal spray form this year. The Prowers Medical Center Clinic has plenty of the vaccine on hand. Patients can either make an appointment, or walk in between 8 am – 12:00 Noon and 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. The cost of the flu shot is $47, or $28 with a cash discount.
“We vaccinate all staff and volunteers for their protection and also for the protection of our patients. They can choose to opt out, but most don’t. In past years we had a vaccination rate of 97% and we expect similar participation this year,” said Linda Neuhold, Employee Health and Education Nurse and Infection Preventionist for the hospital. It’s flu shots, all around!
State law dictates that hospital employees be offered the shot. If employees don’t get it the hospital requires they wear a mask from December through March, or longer if the flu season runs beyond.
The hospital also checks new employees for five different diseases to make sure they show immunity, as well as performing annual tuberculosis testing.
It can be hard to determine if you have the flu or a cold. At the start, the flu mimics the common cold with a sore throat, runny nose and sneezing. The difference is the flu comes on fast, hits hard and lasts longer—one to two weeks—while a cold is generally slower to show and more mild. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of the flu include:
– Fever over 100 degrees
– Aching muscles, especially in your back, arms and legs
– Chills and sweats
– Dry cough
– Fatigue and weakness
– Nasal congestion
Do what you can to prevent the flu in the first place. Thoroughly wash your hands often, get plenty of sleep, eat healthy foods and exercise to keep your immune system strong. The CDC recommends that people who are showing signs of the flu to see their medical provider immediately for one of two antiviral drugs—Tamiflu or Relenza. When
received within a day or two it can reduce the length and severity of the flu. The Providers at Prowers Medical Center Clinic can provide prescriptions for both of these options to patients.
To make an appointment for a flu shot, call the Prowers Medical Center Clinic at 719-336-6767.