It hardly seems possible, but it is already time to start thinking about protecting you and your family from the seasonal flu that comes around every year. The Centers for Disease Control recommends a yearly flu shot as the first and most important step in protecting against this terrible disease.
It is now recommended that ALL children between the ages of 6 months through 18 years be vaccinated against the flu. It is especially important that children aged 6 months up to 5 years get vaccinated because this age group is at higher risk for complications compared with older children. If your child is younger than 9 years old and has never had flu immunization, two doses would be needed spaced one month apart. Infants younger than 6 months are too young to be vaccinated. Therefore, all family members and close contacts (e.g., babysitter) of children younger than 6 months should be vaccinated in order to protect the infant. Last year in the U.S., there were 65 pediatric deaths (including some healthy adolescents) related to influenza.
In general, anyone who wants to reduce the risk of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, there are specific groups of people who really SHOULD get vaccinated because they have a greater risk of complications. In addition to young children, these include pregnant women, adults over age 50, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart and lung disease) residents of nursing homes, and people who live with or care for those at high risk of complications.
The flu mist vaccine (a nasal spray) can now be administered to healthy persons aged 2 through 49 years. The previous recommendation was ages 5 through 49. The trivalent inactivated flu vaccine can be used for anyone over the age of 6 months. There is an all-time high supply of flu vaccine this year which makes it possible for more people than ever to seek protection from the flu.
We have already received some flu vaccine and have several options for those wanting immunization. In addition to the "regular" vaccine and nasal spray mist, we have ordered a limited amount of thimerosal free vaccine (injectable only). Thimerosal is a mercury preservative used in multi-dose vials. Cost is $30-$35 depending on the type of vaccine and payment is by cash or check. Medicare Part B will be billed if your card is shown and you are not enrolled in Hospice, Railroad Retirement, or a Medicare Advantage Plan.
North Shore Health Department flu clinics have been scheduled at both the Brown Deer Village Hall and the North Shore Library:
3-6 pm, Wed., Oct.8 and 7:30-10:30 am, Thurs., Oct. 23 at Brown Deer Village Hall, 4800 W. Green Brook Drive, Brown Deer
11 am-2 pm, Mon., Oct. 13 and 3-6 pm, Tues., Oct. 21 at North Shore Library, 6800 N. Port Washington Road, Glendale
Children's flu vaccinations will be offered at the regular monthly immunization clinics. There is a limited amount of free vaccine provided by the State for those children who qualify.
There is ample opportunity to protect yourself and family from the flu and we hope you will take the time to do so. Please contact us (414-371-2980) if you have any questions or would like additional information about flu immunization.
Additional information about the seasonal flu is available at these websites: