While many bemoan the start of fall, as it means colder temperatures are on the way, another season that rears its ugly head this time of the year often has people moaning and groaning.
It’s flu season.
Over the next several months, people across the area are going to be coughing, wheezing and feeling joint pains all over their bodies, which is going to lead to missed time at work and school and lots of misery.
The good news is there is a way to avoid getting the flu, and that way is by getting the flu vaccination.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), everyone ages six months and older should get the flu vaccine, whether they receive the shot or opt for the nasal spray.
Getting the flu shot helps protect people from getting the flu, but it also helps those who are exposed to it from spreading it to others who may have weaker immune systems or others, such as infants, pregnant women, the elderly and others with chronic diseases.
According to MDH, influ-enza is a “contagious respiratory disease that can be prevented through immunization.” Influenza is not the same as the stomach flu.
It is caused by a virus that attacks the throat, nose and lungs, with symptoms, such as fever, a dry cough, sore throat, headache, feelings of being very tired, a stuffed-up nose and body aches.
Getting the flu can be a serious issue, as it may lead to severe symptoms that put people out of commission for several days. In those with weaker immune systems, the flu, in extreme cases, may also lead to death.
The vaccine for the 2012-13 season has been delivered to area locations.
According to Genie Simon of Redwood County Public Health, its allocation of the vaccine for this year has arrived, and it has scheduled some flu vaccination clinics later in October.
The first clinic is being held Oct. 18 from 3:30 until 5:30 p.m. at the Wabasso Com-munity Center.
A second clinic has been scheduled for Oct. 29 from 4-6:30 p.m. at the school in Walnut Grove.
During the second and fourth Thursday of each month, one may receive a vaccination at the Redwood County Public Health building in Redwood Falls. That may be done between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. Those who want to have the vaccination are asked to make an appointment by calling Redwood County Pub-lic Health at (507) 637-4041. In addition to public health, one may obtain a flu shot from other locations in the community, including local pharmacies, as well as at ACMC. Those who would like to get the vaccination are asked to call ahead to find out when the flu shot is available.
Page 2 of 2 - Those who attend the public health clinics are encouraged to bring Medicare, Medi-care Advantage, medical assistance, Blue Plus or UCare information along, as insurance claims can be filed. Private insurance companies are not going to be billed.
Additional information regarding seasonal influenza may be found at the Redwood County Public Health Web site at www.co.red-wood.mn.us or by visiting Redwood County Public Health on Facebook.
Most influenza occurs during the months of October through May, so it is important for the public to get the vaccine as soon as is possible.
However, according MDH, much of the influenza in recent years has been showing up during the Jan-uary and February time frame.
Those who have other concerns about influenza are encouraged to talk with their physician.
One may also find additional information on the Minnesota Department of Health Web site at www.health .state.mn.us.