Archive for Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Health officials urge flu shots for all children

Chilly nights means autumn is on the way. And as the leaves start to change, it's also the start of flu season. 6News reporter Lindsey Slater has a preview of what this year's flu bug has in store and a few ways you can stay flu-free.

September 16, 2008

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Flu season is just around the corner, and with the early onset of pleasant days and chilly nights, it might be closer than you think.

"When the weather starts getting colder, people start staying inside more and they're closer together," said DeeAnne Schoenfeld, the immunization charge nurse for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. "I've not heard anything about the particular flu viruses coming over earlier : but just sharing the common spaces can certainly do that."

This year, a record number of flu vaccines are expected to be available - 143 million doses will be sent out in the middle of October. And now children - from 6 months old to 18 years - are being recommended for the flu shot.

"Kids are germ monsters," said Schoenfeld. "They've actually raised the recommendation. It was up to 5 years of age. Now it's up to 18."

This year's vaccine will be a little different from previous years.

"For the first time in a few years, they're changing all three components, all three viruses," said Patty Quinlan, nursing supervisor at Kansas University's Watkins Health Center, which receives 2,500 doses each flu season. "They found that last year's vaccine did not mimic the actual viruses going around."

While getting a flu shot is recommended, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself and others from getting sick.

"Wash you hands. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Stay home if you're sick," said Schoenfeld. "Just keep your germs to yourself."

Quinlan also reminds people not to share drinks, utensils or hand towels. "Just be aware of what you're doing on your personal hygiene to protect others."

Flu season usually stretches between November and April.

Comments

gr 6 years, 6 months ago

"They found that last year's vaccine did not mimic the actual viruses going around."Wasn't it not that long ago when they were urging everyone that it still wasn't too late to get last year's flu vaccine? And all that for naught.It's always, this one is better, we messed up last year. Unless there wasn't any flu, then it's, good thing everyone got vaccinated."doses will be sent out in the middle of October"If it was being recommended to adults, one would wonder if this had something to do with the election....

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