Northwest NEWS

October 19, 1998

Local News

Flu season is just around the corner

   Seattle King County Department of Public Health's 1998 flu shot campaign has begun. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that flu shots be given from October through November to provide the best protection throughout the typical influenza season.
   This year's flu vaccine includes protection against A/Beijing, A/Sydney and B/Beijing viral strains. Health officials have determined these are the strains most likely to be causing influenza in the U.S. this year.
   You need a flu shot every year because the vaccine is different every year, so it can include the strains of influenza that are likely to cause influenza during the flu season.
   Flu shots are available at most health care clinics and at your nearest health department office. Shots will also be available at many walk-in locations throughout the Puget Sound area. Medicare Part B coverage will pay for a flu shot. If you have Medicare coverage and belong to a managed care plan or HMO, you should go to that health care provider for your flu shot.
   This is also a good time to make sure your tetanus-diptheria and pneumococcal vaccinations are up to date.
   Influenza vaccine is recommended for people at highest risk of complications from the flu, including all people age 65 or older, those 6 months and older with chronic diseases of the heart, lung or kidneys, diabetes, immunosuppression or severe forms of anemia, residents of long-term care facilities and pregnant women who will be in their second or third trimester of pregnancy during the flu season. CDC also encourages flu shots for adults who live, work or may come in contact with people at high risk for flu complications including health care workers.
   Influenza is a very contagious illness that strikes millions of Americans each year, with pneumonia as the most common complication for high-risk groups. Influenza disease, unlike the common cold, has a swift onset of severe symptoms beginning with two to seven days of fever, headache, muscle aches, extreme fatigue, runny nose, and sore throat, and a cough that is often severe and may last seven days or more.
   For more information call the Health Department's Hotline at 206-296-4949 or The American Lung Association at 206-441-5100 (or 1-800-LUNGUSA if outside the Seattle area.)