As the weather cools off, it’s not only a sign that winter is on its way, but also influenza season.
Flu is a respiratory illness with coughing, congestion, fever, aches and pains. The Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone over the age of 6 months receive a vaccination against influenza.
“Getting the flu is serious business. You can be sick for more than a week and miss a lot of school or work,” said Miki Gould, infection preventionist with ThedaCare. “It can also lead to more serious complications, such as pneumonia. Every year, influenza sends people to the hospital and some people unfortunately even die from it.”
Vaccinations help stop the spread of the disease and protect people who cannot receive the vaccine, such as newborns, she added. While the CDC recommends everyone be vaccinated against influenza, people over the age of 50, children, people with chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes, pregnant women, healthcare workers, and people who live or work in nursing home facilities are especially encouraged to receive the vaccine because they are most at risk of developing serious complications, Gould said. There’s also a vaccine available this year for people who are allergic to eggs and may have not been able to receive an influenza shot in the past.
“Receiving the vaccination is so important and it’s a very simple step that offers a lot of protection,” she said. “It’s important to get the vaccination before the main part of the flu season hits – which is usually after Christmas although you can get it at any time. It takes up to two weeks to receive full immunity so I tell people to not wait too long. The earlier you get it, the better.”
To get their seasonal vaccination, patients can choose to see their ThedaCare Physicians provider, visit a ThedaCare FastCare clinic or attend a ThedaCare At Home flu shot clinic. For patients over the age of 65, a high-dose vaccination, which has more than four times as much antigen as the regular shot, is available. Most insurance providers and Medicare cover flu shots.
Those who want to take advantage of the ThedaCare At Home flu clinic can call the hotline at 920-730-3472 for clinic locations and times. No appointment is needed to attend, but everyone must be 18 years or older. Medicare Part B covers the cost of the flu and pneumonia shots so bring all Medicare and insurance cards with you. All non-Medicare insurance will be handled with only cash and checks. Staff members will also add any shots received in ThedaCare patients’ electronic medical records.
Local ThedaCare At Home’s clinic times include:
• Monday, Sept. 30 at the New London Senior Activity Center, New London; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Tuesday, Oct. 1 at the Wolf River Community Bank, Hortonville; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Monday, Oct. 7 at the Waupaca Senior Center, Waupaca; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Tuesday, Oct. 8 at the Greenville Town Hall, Greenville; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Thursday, Oct. 10 at Festival Foods, New London; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Monday, Oct. 14 at the Fox West YMCA, Greenville; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Tuesday, Oct. 15 at Piggly Wiggly, New London; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.