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With one confirmed case of the flu virus, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is recommending residents get an early start preparing for flu season. KSMU’s Matthew Barnes reports.
Flu season normally gets in full swing in January and February. However, with the report of flu being found in Springfield, getting a head start on protecting yourself wouldn’t be a bad idea. Kendra Williams is the Community Health and Epidemiology Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.
“Actually it’s not too early at this point to go ahead and get your flu vaccine. It takes two weeks to build immunity against influenza once you have had the vaccine. So since we know we had a confirmed case in the area even though we are not sure if its spreading yet. I would go ahead and recommend individuals to get vaccinated,” says Williams.
While only one case has been report in Springfield so far, Williams says the flu can infect others.
“It’s not going to take much to spread to others. Influenza is spread through droplets in the air when somebody sneezes, coughs or talks. It can also contaminate surface areas and you can come in contact with the virus that way,” Says Williams.
Hospitals in the area are monitoring patients to discover if the virus has spread. According to Williams, proper hygiene is the best defense against contracting the flu, besides getting a flu shot.
“Practice respiratory etiquette if you have to go out, like to the doctors office. If you sneeze, sneeze into your elbow. If you use a tissue, use it one time and throw it away. Keep your hands washed. Really those are the most important this as well as getting that influenza vaccination,” says Williams.
Many retail locations have started offering flu shots; some also provide billing service for Medicare and Medicaid. Getting one at your earliest convenience is what’s important According to Williams.
“Any place would be great to get your vaccination. You could go to any pharmacy and pick it up. You could go to the health department and get one. We have community flu clinics starting in October. So it should not be a problem to get your vaccination,” says Williams.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department will offer a walk-in flu clinic for children and pregnant women from 3 to 7 p.m. October 18 and 25, as well as November 3rd at the Westside Public Health Center located at 660 S. Scenic.
The Springfield Flu Immunization Coalition will also offer a clinic for adult residents without health insurance sometime in November. For KSMU News, I’m Matthew Barnes.