01:42pm Wednesday 13 December 2017

A double-flu season: Public being urged to get the seasonal vaccine now

LOUISVILLE, KY. – The seasonal influenza season is typically between December and March, but this year, there is competition with the novel H1N1 flu virus. The novel H1N1 flu virus hit the U.S. in April and vaccine manufacturers have been developing and testing the vaccine, which is expected to be available in early to mid-October. The two types of flu viruses are different, but the public is being urged to obtain the available seasonal flu vaccine now to prevent lowered immune systems.

“We’re approaching what will be a double-flu season, meaning that the H1N1 flu virus will overlap with the seasonal flu season, opening people up to an even greater chance of becoming ill,” said Gerrie Leppert, VNA Nazareth Home Care CEO. “We recommend the seasonal flu vaccine every year, but this year, the public is really being encouraged to be proactive about their health and the health of those around them through vaccination.”

The seasonal vaccine takes two weeks to be fully effective. Delaying or not receiving the vaccine could leave someone open to this highly contagious infection, as well as other illnesses.

According to Leppert, “We typically begin our flu clinics in early October, but this year we will be providing vaccines in mid-September, giving the community a head start in defending against the flu.”

Beginning September 19, VNA Nazareth Home Care will offer seasonal flu shots at a variety of clinics throughout Louisville and southern Indiana, as well as in Shelbyville and Shepherdsville. To find a walk-in clinic throughout the vaccine season, visit www.jhsmh.org/flu or call the VNA Nazareth Home Care Flu and Pneumonia Vaccine Hotline 24/7 at 502-581-8614. Clinics currently scheduled are attached, but new locations, dates and times will be added as the need increases.

According to the CDC, an average of five to twenty percent of the U.S. population becomes infected with seasonal influenza annually, resulting in more than 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths from flu complications. The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each fall.

There are some people who should not be vaccinated without first consulting a physician, including children less  than six months of age, individuals with a severe allergy to chicken eggs, those who had a past, severe reaction to an influenza vaccination, individuals who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within six weeks of getting a past influenza vaccine and those with a moderate to severe illness with a fever on the day of the vaccination.

VNA Nazareth Home Care flu clinics serve those who are 12 and older (with the exception of those 12 and under needing their first seasonal flu vaccine). The cost is covered for those who subscribe to Medicare Part B, Passport Advantage Plan, Humana Medicare, Aetna Medicare, Advantra Freedom and Wellcare PFFS. Individuals must bring their Medicare card(s) and a photo ID. VNA Nazareth Home Care will accept and file the claim for individuals with these plans only. The cost for all others is $25 cash or check for the flu vaccine.

About VNA Nazareth Home Care
VNA Nazareth Home Care, a service of Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare, has provided home care and wellness services to central Kentucky and southern Indiana communities for more than a century. Our innovative services and preventative health programs recognize the needs of our patients and promote the highest quality of life. VNA Nazareth Home Care has a team of registered nurses, social workers, companions, dieticians, pharmacists, aides and physical, occupational and speech therapists. The team provides care for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, mental health and ventilator use and offers programs for low vision, stroke management, wound management, better breathing, falls prevention, healthy heart and infusion therapy. For more information, visit www.vnanazareth.org or call 1-800-346-4577.

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