December 16th, 2019
Local health officials are encouraging the community to get vaccinated now to avoid “the flu Grinch” from ruining the fast-approaching holiday season.
Allen County Health commissioner Deborah McMahan, M.D. was joined by local media at the Kroger Pharmacy, 6002 St. Joe Center Rd. Monday to hear about recent influenza activity and the importance of getting the flu shot before it’s too late.
“While our local flu activity is currently low, our neighbors to the south are now experiencing a significant spread, which means the worst is likely to hit us at the peak of the Christmas holidays,” said Dr. McMahan, MD. “So let’s do all we can to spread good cheer instead of influenza and save Christmas from the flu Grinch.”
Connie Heflin, executive director for Super Shot and Kroger pharmacists Andrew Tran and Rick Koomler were also on hand to discuss the importance and ease of getting a flu vaccination at every age, as well as to discuss what helpful products folks can pick up while out holiday shopping so they are on hand in case of illness.
Super Shot has locations throughout Allen County where flu shot is available for both children and adults. No appointment is necessary. Clinic locations and times can be found at supershot.org/clinic-times-locations.
Most pharmacies, including all Kroger locations, also offer flu vaccination without appointments required.
Some recommended products Dr. McMahan and the pharmacists advised having on hand for common respiratory illnesses to alleviate symptoms included:
- Pain reliever/Fever reducer (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin)
- Decongestants (pseudoephedrine; phenylephrine)
- Expectorants (guaifenesin)
- Cough suppressants (dextromethorphan)
- Antihistamines (diphenhydramine)
- Fluid replacement (like Pedialyte)
- Hand santizer
Pharmacists are always glad to assist with questions about what medications are best for certain symptoms, Tran said. And Koomler reiterated all products can have side-effects, so people should always talk to their doctor about what medications are best for them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. flu season occurs in the fall and winter, usually peaking between December and February. The CDC is currently seeing more influenza B/Victoria virus activity reported nationally, which is more commonly the predominant virus reported at the end of most flu seasons. This strain of the virus is covered by the 2019 flu vaccine.
Flu activity in Indiana is continuing to increase and has hit people 24-years of age and younger hardest, but is now also beginning to increase in the adult population. There have been three flu-related deaths in Indiana this season, all in people 65-years or older.
The CDC recommends everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine each season, and advises it is particularly important for those at high risk of serious complications from influenza. People at high risk for developing flu-related complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections include children younger than five-years-old, adults over 65 years of age, pregnant women and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.