Letter: Protect yourself by getting flu shot

To the editor:

Even healthy people need a flu vaccine. Influenza (flu) is a contagious disease which affects the lungs and can lead to serious illness, including pneumonia. Even healthy people can get sick enough to miss work or school for a significant amount of time or even be hospitalized.

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. Pregnant women, young children, older people and people with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease are at increased risk of serious flu-related complications, so getting a yearly flu vaccine is especially important for them.

Is the flu vaccine safe? Yes. The flu vaccine is safe. The flu vaccine is safe, does not cause the flu, and can protect the ones you love. The flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness; however, it can cause mild side effects that may be mistaken for flu. For example, people vaccinated with the flu shot may feel achy and may have a sore arm where the shot was given. These side effects are not the flu. If experienced at all, these effects are usually mild and last only one or two days. Some people get severe pain in the shoulder and have difficulty moving the arm where a shot was given. This happens very rarely.

People sometimes faint after a medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting and injuries caused by a fall. Tell your doctor if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.

Any medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions from a vaccine are very rare, estimated at about 1 in a million doses, and would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death. The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. For more information, visit cdc.gov/vaccine safety or cdc.gov/ vaccines/hcp/vis/ vis-statements/flu.pdf.

If you are an adult and are uninsured, there is no charge for the flu vaccine. Children on Hoosier HealthWise or Medicaid are free also.

If you or your child is insured but it is more convenient for you to receive the flu vaccine at the health department, the charges are:

•Infants 6 months to 35 months: $22

•Children 36 months and older: $17

•High dose flu for 65 years and older: $37

It is best to call for an appointment, 812-988-2255.

There is no nasal vaccine available during the 2016-2017 flu seasons.

Toni Warburton, Brown County Health Department nursing supervisor

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