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Free flu shots part of keeping healthy in fall and winter
The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDCH) and the medical community highly recommend that everyone get their shot as part of personal program to stay healthy through the fall and winter. In addition there are other practices that will reduce possibilities of contracting the flu and spreading it.
The 2010-2011 flu shot in the northern hemisphere offers protection against three different flu viruses: an H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus. Shots are available through physicians, clinics and retail pharmacies. The CDCH is offering free shots throughout our community.
Roberto Maldonado, 26th Ward Alderman, announced to his constituents that those who got the 2009 H1N1 (pandemic) influenza vaccine, or had pandemic flu in 2009, should still get the 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccine. There will be bilingual nurses/staff available on Oct.28 at the Walk-In Clinic at El Rebano Church, 2435 W. Division, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Three other places and times for flu shots are: Nov. 3 in the West Town Satellite Senior Center, 1613 W. Chicago from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Nov. 17 in the 27th Ward Office, 1463 W. Chicago from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ; and in the 1st Ward at Nazareth Family Center, 1127 N. Oakley, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
CDCH continues to update site list. Senior citizens should bring their Medicare cards to the flu shot site.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer the following three steps:
- CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
- While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common.
- The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.
- Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the flu as soon as the 2010-2011 season vaccine is available.
- People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
- Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
- Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.
- Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. (Or sneeze into your sleeve, NOT your hands.)
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.
- Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
- Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
- It's very important that antiviral drugs be used early (within the first 2 days of symptoms) to treat people who are very sick (such as those who are hospitalized) or people who are sick with flu symptoms and who are at increased risk of severe flu illness, such as pregnant women, young children, people 65 and older and people with certain chronic health conditions.
- Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.
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