October 27, 2013

Flu shot can ward off illness

By Rob McDaniel
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — October is the official start of flu season, and the Laurel County Health Department is recommending citizens take a proactive approach to the seasonal sickness by getting their yearly flu shot.

Carolee Epperson, nursing supervisor at the Laurel County Health Department, said it’s important for all individuals to get a flu shot once per year, especially if they are prone to illness.

“Flu is a contagious disease,” Epperson said.  “October through May are the peak seasons for flu, but February is by far the worst month.”

Epperson said those who are at the highest risk of contracting  the flu are young children, people over 65, anyone with heart or kidney diseases or anyone with a suppressed immune system.

“People don’t often know this, but there are two types of flu vaccinations,” Epperson said.  “There is the live virus vaccination, which is a nasal mist.  The other form of vaccination is inactivated, which is more commonly known as the ‘flu shot.’”

According to Epperson, the flu shot vaccination normally lasts for a year, but takes approximately two weeks to aid in immunity development.

“There is a common misconception that the flu shot causes people to get sick,” said Epperson.  “The truth behind that myth is that if people get sick during the immunity building process, it’s that they got the flu before immunity was built.”

To be eligible to get flu vaccinations, a person needs to be at least 6 months old.  If a child is younger than 6 months, Epperson recommends those who have regular contact with the child get vaccinated to protect the child from the flu.

Epperson also mentioned individuals with asthma are not eligible to receive nasal mist vaccinations.

The best way to prevent contracting or spreading the flu is good hand washing practices, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing and getting vaccinated.

The Laurel County Health Department is currently accepting adult walk-ins for vaccinations from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Children need to have an appointment scheduled for vaccination

For more information on flu vaccinations, call the Laurel County Health Department at (606) 864-5187.