Do you have a cough, runny nose and you're congested? Do you feel a fever coming on, then the chills and your muscles ache and you're having difficulty breathing?
These are the common symptoms that no one wants to have, but it's that time again for flu season. Are you ready?
There is no snow yet and the weather has been iffy, but the months of October to April are the primary time for influenza infections to occur.
To get ready, nurses in the Brainerd lakes area are encouraging people to get a flu vaccination.
Five-year-old Lillian Swenson watched Sue Armstrong receive her flu immunization Wednesday by Crow Wing County Public Health Nurse Mary Burrell at the Crosslake Evangelical Free Church in Crosslake. The Crow Wing County Public Health Department is conducting public walk-in influenza clinics throughout the county. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Joyce Mueller, Crow Wing County public health nurse manager, said the health department has been administering flu vaccinations for a few weeks now. More are scheduled. The next clinic will be from 3:30-5 p.m. Wednesday at Lakewood Free Evangelical Church in Baxter. Cost is $20 a person.
Mueller said the turnout has been great. The county had a clinic at Brainerd High School for staff, students and their families and more than 500 doses were administered.
The Brainerd Medical Center has administered 4,800 flu vaccinations so far, said Jan Anderson, BMC director of clinical care services.
The Central Lakes Medical Clinic in Crosby just finished its flu clinics. The clinic administered about 1,100 doses. Patients can still get a vaccination by making an appointment.
The vaccines are given either by needle in the arm or by FluMist, which is given as a nasal spray.
"The mist is the wave of the future," said Mueller.
Mueller said what makes the mist beneficial is there's no pain, like there is in the needle, so it's more comforting, especially for children.
The mist is recommended for people age 2-49. Mueller said studies haven't been done on people 50 years or older to determine if it's safe.
Crow Wing County Health Department flu clinics
3:30-5 p.m. Wednesday at Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter.
1-3 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Jesse Hallett Library in Crosby.
9-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Nov. 9, 16 and 30 at the health department in Brainerd.
1-3 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Brainerd Public Library.
10-11 a.m. Nov. 20 at St. Alice Church in Pequot Lakes.
Brainerd Medical flu clinics
9 a.m. to noon Saturdays, Nov. 10 and 17. Must call to make an appointment.
The mist, which is a weakened influenza vaccine, is made so that it can't grow in lungs. After getting the spray a person may feel a little stuffy.
The needle vaccine is made by taking influenza viruses, growing them in eggs, purifying them and completely inactivating them with a chemical called formaldehyde. This vaccine may cause pain, redness or tenderness at the site of the injection and may make a person's muscles ache and cause a low-grade fever.
Mueller said both vaccines do the same thing and they both contain the three different strains of influenza viruses likely to cause the disease.
The high flu season time is January and February, but the best time to get the vaccine is October and November or as early as possible, said Mueller. Mueller said people can get a vaccination as late as May to provide protection against late season outbreaks.
"Everyone should get vaccinated," said Mueller. "Even if they are healthy. Everyone is at risk of getting the flu."
Anderson agreed and said the flu is a serious disease and a simple vaccination shot provides people the protection they need.
To help prevent the flu, a person should:
Wash their hands frequently.
Cover a cough.
Abide by the three-foot rule of being away from a person who has the flu or is sick.
Have alcohol-based hand sanitizers available at your desk and use it three to four times a day.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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