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The Journal Gazette

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Friday, September 29, 2017 1:00 am

Editorial

A shot of good sense

Flu vaccine good preventive for almost everyone

To learn more

Low cost options

Children who don't have health insurance or are on Medicaid or HIP 2.0 may receive the flu shot at SuperShot. For more information, call 424-7468 (SHOT) or go to supershot.org.

Uninsured children or adults may receive the flu shot by calling and scheduling an appointment at the Allen County Health Department Immunization Clinic at 449-7504.

For individuals with health insurance

Go to www.heroesplan.org and click on “Locations” to find a pharmacy near you that will administer your flu vaccine.

Or schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to get your flu vaccine

In the hospital systems

Lutheran Health Network offers flu shots for $30 at each of its RediMed urgent care clinics. A complete list is accessible at www.redimedclinics.com/urgent-care-clinics.

For Parkview Health's flu-shot locations, go to www.parkview.com/firstcare

Tracking the flu

To track the progress of the flu season in Indiana and around the country, go to the CDC's Fluview Interactive, at www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/fluviewinteractive.htm

October is the beginning of flu season. It's easy for you to see that you and your family are protected, though. As the box below shows, there are plenty of places that offer vaccinations for those with or without health insurance.

There is also a foolproof way to protect yourself against the groundless fears spread by anti-vaxxers.

Don't listen to them.

Getting a flu shot is one of the healthiest, best decisions you'll ever make. The supposed hidden dangers of flu shots are almost wholly a myth.

But people allergic to chicken eggs and certain other substances are advised to consult with their health care provider, who can offer an alternative.

“They're not going to get sick from the vaccine,” said Susan Cisney, director of clinical services for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health. “If they have allergies, they may have a reaction to the solution that it's in.”

Infants younger than 6 months old and people who have had reactions to shots before shouldn't be vaccinated, and those who have had Guillain-Barré syndrome should consult their physician, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Current flu shots only contain inactive viruses, Cisney said. Vaccine formulations with live flu viruses, which may have posed hazards for people with impaired immune systems, are no longer recommended.

Catching the flu, on the other hand, can be perilous. The very young, the elderly and those who have a compromised immune system may be especially at risk, Cisney said. The flu can be a powerful foe even for adults in the prime of life.

Since 2010, according to the CDC, each flu season has led to 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 to 56,000 deaths.

In Indiana, the flu season that began last October and ended in May led to 103 deaths. Fourteen of those deaths were in Allen County.

Every flu season is different. The CDC and the international medical community keep track of the latest strains of the virus and formulate vaccines accordingly.

“It was a fairly good match last year,” Cisney said. “This year, they think it's going to be even better.”

Flu season in Indiana usually peaks between January and March, she said. But the CDC believes the virus will be spreading earlier this season and is recommending all Americans be vaccinated by the end of October.

“It takes 10 to14 days for your body to build up antibodies” after receiving the shot, Cisney said. “So, we say, 'let's get started.' ”