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SEPTEMBER 29, 1997

Local News

Flu and pneumonia season approaching

  NW News Staff
   Once again, the winter flu season looms on the horizon. This year, the American Lung Association of Washington and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta (CDC) strongly recommend influenza (flu) vaccine for any person aged 6 months or older, who, because of age or underlying medical condition, is at increased risk for flu complications. The optimum time to receive the flu shot this year is between Oct. 1 and Dec. 1.
   Each year, millions of Americans are afflicted with influenza and pneumonia. Those most at risk are people over 65, those suffering from chronic lung or heart disease, those with weakened immune systems, and caregivers of high risk persons.
   This season, CDC reports that the flu vaccine for 1997-98 will contain protection against the A/Wuhan, A/Bayern and B/Beijing virus strains. These are the three flu strains identified by health officials as most likely to strike this year. U.S. flu vaccine manufacturers, however, will use the antigenically equivalent strains A/Johannesburg, A/Nanchang and B/ Harbin because of their growth properties.
   The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta (CDC) recommend a flu shot every year because the influenza virus strain changes annually. The flu shot is covered by Medicare and many other health insurance programs. You can receive your flu shot from your doctor or public health department. On-site flu shots are also widely available this year at walk-in locations in hospitals, clinics, supermarkets, pharmacies and malls throughout Washington during Oct. and Nov.
   In Snohomish County, the shots are being given Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Snohomish Senior Center, 171 Cypress St. in Snohomish and Oct. 23 from 9 .m. to noon at the East County Senior Center, 825 Villge Way in Monroe.For information, call the Lung Association's Flu Hotline at (206) 441-5100 in greater Seattle, or 1-800-LUNG USA if outside Seattle, for immunization dates and sites.