Influenza arrives in Carson City |

Influenza arrives in Carson City

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal R.N. Karyn Clemmensen gives 6-month-old Dakota Gardner a shot while his mother Kristina Gardner, of Virginia City, holds him at the Carson City Health and Human Services Building on Thursday afternoon.

The flu has been making its seasonal rounds through Carson City, but it’s not too late to stop it or lessen its severity, according to health officials.

“We’re definitely at the peak of our flu season,” said Christi Smith, preventative-health coordinator for city Health and Human Services.

Flu shots are still available from the city – and still would prove effective – even as the season peaks.

“It’s not too late. We have plenty of vaccine,” Smith said. “It’s better to have your body recognize it from a vaccine than from the virus itself.”

Urgent care providers have been testing people coming in for severe symptoms during the past couple of weeks as the number of apparent flu symptom sufferers has started to spike upward. Statistics are still being compiled, but it’s appearing to be a flu season that’s unremarkable.

“Average,” Smith said.

Children – except those age 6 months and younger – up to age 5, people with compromised immune systems and chronic diseases, caregivers, and people 50 and older definitely should get vaccinated.

Other people should seriously consider getting the vaccination, too.

People with medical complications should consult a physician before obtaining a flu shot, especially people allergic to eggs, who’ve had a bad reaction to flu shots in the past and those with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Though this is appearing to be a uneventful flu season, it’s never an illness to underestimate. Stay home from school, work or any other places where others might gather if you’re feeling sick, Smith emphasized.

Symptoms can include: fever; headache; tiredness; cough; sore throat; runny or stuffy nose; body aches; and, diarrhea and vomiting.

Younger and older people can become seriously ill from the virus. The flu can cause serious complications, including bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes. People die from flu-related complications each year.

Children and adults may develop sinus problems and ear infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Residents interested in obtaining flu vaccinations can do so from 8:30- noon and 1-4:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays at the new health and Human Services building, 900 E. Long St. Call 887-2195 for information and to make an appointment.

The clinic will be closed this Monday, however, because it’s Presidents Day.

The Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center also has flu vaccine available. Make inquiries at the front lobby. Cost is $25 or available through Medicare part B.

“You won’t get the flu from the vaccination,” Smith said. “If you’re feeling a little achy after a flu shot, your body is just preparing to fight off the illness.”

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.

Don’t spread it around

Christi Smith, preventative-health coordinator for Carson City Health and Human Services – and a parent – advises that when you find yourself without a tissue the most effective way to cover a sneeze or cough is with the crook of your arm, not with a hand.

If you have a tissue to cough or sneeze into, don’t forget to throw the tissue away immediately.

Other ways to keep from spreading the virus

• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If you are not near water, use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others.

• If you get the flu, stay home from work, school, and social gatherings. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

• Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs often spread this way.

– Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention