Department of Health recommends flu shots

© 2017-The Torrington Telegram

GOSHEN COUNTY – Reports of influenza are already rolling in, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Thursday, state epidemiologists announced the illness is present in locations scattered across the state and recommended flu shots as a safe and effective way to protect residents from getting sick.

 “Because influenza makes its rounds every year, it is something familiar, but it should never be overlooked or accepted as a minor problem. Flu is a serious illness,” Dr. Alexia Harrist, state epidemiologist and acting state health officer with WDH, said in a press release.

“Nearly everyone six months or older should get seasonal flu vaccines each year. Flu shots are safe and the most important action people can take to help prevent getting ill with influenza and passing it on to others,” she said.

Representatives at Banner Medical Clinic in Torrington were not able to release 2017 flu information for Goshen County by press time. Supervisor Jennelle Werner said residents may visit the clinic at 625 Albany Ave. Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to receive a flu shot.

Additionally, Banner Health will offer Torrington community fall health screenings Oct. 26 and 27 from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Goshen County Fairgrounds Rendezvous Center Brand Room. The event is self-pay, walk-in and offers low-cost blood screenings as well as flu shots.

In Wyoming, federal funding covers vaccine costs for many children and adults through WDH-managed programs. Qualified children include those covered by Medicaid, uninsured children, American Indian or Alaska native children. Qualified adults include those who are uninsured or
underinsured.

It takes about two weeks for flu vaccines to offer protection, so residents should act now, before the flu becomes widespread in
your area.

“The level of flu activity we saw in Wyoming during the 2016-17 flu season was considered to be moderately severe,” Reggie McClinton, a WDH epidemiologist, said.  “Unfortunately, we saw 15 flu-related deaths, mostly among older residents.”

Harrist said anyone can get the flu and healthy people do usually recover. “But they can also spread the virus to others who may be more vulnerable such as the elderly. Every year we see hospitalizations and deaths connected to influenza,” she added.

Harrist noted nasal mist vaccines available in previous seasons are no longer recommended.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches.

Basic common-sense measures can also slow the spread of influenza and other respiratory diseases. These steps include covering the mouth and nose with sleeves or tissues when sneezing and coughing; frequently washing hands; and staying home from work, school, day care and errands when ill.

For more information about the fall health screening, call (307) 534-7020 or visit Bannerhealth.com/Torrington.

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