It begins with a sneeze or a stuffy nose, followed by the chills and body aches.
It's the flu and now the Ingham County Health Department is ready to take on the season by stocking up on the flu vaccine.
"All manufacturers of the flu vaccine have more than adequate supplies of it so there should be no shortage of the influenza vaccine," Joy Maloney, Ingham County Health Department.
The flu shot is just $20 and can be billed to Medicare or Medicaid. Also available is the flu mist, a nasal spray alternative for those who don't want an injection.
The flu mist is a bit more expensive than the shot: it costs about $52 and is not covered by insurance this year. It's also important for the person getting the nasal spray form to be in good health, and not have a compromised immune system.
"The flu mist is a live vaccine, it's a weakened form of the virus. Someone with a compromised immune system may not be able to build up the antibodies and could shed some of the flu virus after having the flu mist.
It takes about two weeks for your body to build up antibodies to the flu, which is why the Ingham County Health Department is beginning clinics on Oct. 14, well before December, the typical start of flu season.
Call 887-4316 for more information on clinic sites and times.
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- Much of the illness and death caused by influenza can be prevented by annual influenza vaccination.
- Influenza vaccine is specifically recommended for people who are at high risk for developing serious complications as a result of influenza infection.
- These high-risk groups are:
- All people age 65 and older.
- People of any age with chronic diseases of the heart, lungs or kidneys, diabetes, immunosuppression, or severe forms of anemia.
- Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities housing patients of any age.
- Women who will be more then three months pregnant during influenza season.
- Children and teenagers who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who may therefore be at risk for developing Reye syndrome after an influenza virus infection.
- All people age 65 and older.
- Overall vaccine effectiveness varies from year to year, depending upon the degree of similarity between the influenza virus strains included in the vaccine and the strain or strains that circulate during the influenza season.
- Influenza vaccine produced in the United States cannot cause influenza.
- The only type of influenza vaccine that has been licensed in the United States is made from killed influenza viruses, which cannot cause infection.
When to receive the influenza vaccine
- In the United States, influenza usually occurs from about November until April, with activity peaking between late December and early March.
- The optimal time for vaccination of persons at high risk for influenza-related medical complications is during October through November.
- It takes about 1 to 2 weeks after vaccination for antibody against influenza to develop and provide protection.
Source: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/flu/fluvac.htm ( The Center for Disease Control Vaccine Information Web site)