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Influenza cases confirmed in state PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 23 October 2014 15:58

By Carolyn Lee

The Imperial Republican


Flu is here. The first confirmed cases of the season have been reported to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). There are three, all in Douglas County.

“Several viruses are in the news right now including Ebola and enterovirus, but it’s also important to remember that flu can be a serious disease,” according to Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS.

“Getting vaccinated is the most important step you can take to protect yourself and your family from flu.”

“To have confirmed cases in October is very early, considering that February is usually the peak of influenza season,” stated Tami Herskowitz, surveillance nurse for Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department (SWNPHD).

“Make your health a priority and get your flu shot now.” She recommends influenza vaccination for everyone six months and older this season.

When people get the flu they may have a sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, dry cough or muscle aches. Illness may last several days to a week or more before recovery. The flu may be especially serious for the elderly and people with diabetes, heart, lung or kidney diseases.

Melissa Propp, RN at SWNPHD says “Do not confuse influenza with GI virus, better known as ‘stomach flu.’ Influenza is in your lungs. GI virus attacks your stomach and/or digestive tract.”


Vaccinations

The Chase County Clinic received a shipment of flu vaccine Friday, and is giving vaccinations during clinic hours at both the Imperial and Wauneta clinics.

Office Manager Rhonda Sargent said 250 regular and 250 high dose vaccines have been received, with more to come.

A nasal spray vaccine for ages 3-49 is also available.

The vaccine costs $25 and the nasal spray costs $36, Sargent said. If the cost is covered by insurance, insurance information should be presented at the time of the shot.

The vaccine this year is a “quad,” or four-strain. Each year scientists try to predict the strains that will make the rounds of the country, then make a “cocktail” of the most likely.

Sargent said a flu vaccine evening will be held Nov. 13 from 4-6 p.m. at the Imperial clinic for those not able to visits the clinic during daytime hours.

In addition, people may schedule an appointment with SWNPHD for a vaccination by calling 308-345-4223 in McCook.