This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
The first week of October marks the official start of flu season in the United States. Beginning in October and lasting through May, flu season is the period when flu germs are most likely to be around and to make people sick. Each fall the flu returns to our community and brings with it the fever, cough, sore throat, congestion, muscle aches and fatigue that many of us dread. The symptoms can be mild and last only a few days or they can be severe and hang around for weeks. For those with other health conditions, like asthma or diabetes, the flu can make those illnesses worse. Even in otherwise healthy people, flu can lead to complications like ear infections, pneumonia, and even death.
Luckily, you can protect yourself and your family from the flu, while doing a bit of community service at the same time. Join Carson City Health and Human Services this Saturday, Oct. 14, for our community flu vaccination event. In addition to providing flu vaccinations, the event serves as an emergency preparedness exercise to practice plans and procedures for dealing with a public health disaster that would require the Health Department to dispense large amounts of vaccine or medications to the community. By attending the flu clinic, you’re not only getting a flu vaccine, you’re helping Carson City be better prepared to respond to emergencies!
This year’s event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Carson Senior Center, located at 911 Beverly Drive in Carson City. Do not let the location fool you as this event is open to everyone in the community! The flu shot is $20. CCHHS can bill Medicaid, Medicare and most private insurances for your convenience so please bring your insurance card if you have one. No one will be turned away for an inability to pay!
You can help prevent the flu in our community by taking a few easy steps now and throughout the flu season.
Get your flu vaccine — an annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances of you getting the flu and lessen the chance that you will spread it to others. Health officials recommend everyone over six months of age should be vaccinated, except people who are allergic to eggs, those with a previous severe reaction to flu vaccine, or people with a history of Guillain–Barré Syndrome
Wash your hands — Handwashing prevents the spread of flu and other germs, like the common cold. Good hand hygiene can protect you against many types of germs. Use soap and water or hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean.
Cover your cough — If you do find yourself coughing and sneezing, cough into your elbow to prevent spreading germs to those around you.
If you become ill, stay home to avoid making others sick.
For those who are unable to attend the community flu vaccination event on Oct. 14, the flu vaccine will be available at Carson City Health and Human Services’ Immunization Clinic every Thursday between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m. on a walk-in basis. The clinic also accepts many forms of insurance. For information on the flu vaccine or other Health Department programs and services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cchhs.