Monday, December 9, 2002/lk
The flu has arrived in Oregon — and Hood River Countyhealth officials are urging citizens to get immunized against the seasonal virus.
Ellen Larsen, county health director, said this year parents are being encouraged to also vaccinate their children at the health department, 1109 June St. The walk-in clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and the cost for a shot is $10, although Health Net, Blue Cross and Medicare will be billed.
According to the Oregon Public Health Services, immunization is recommended for the following people:
* Persons 65 years of age or older.
* People suffering from a chronic illness.
* All women in their second or third trimester of pregnancy.
* All workers who provide care for individuals who may suffer from complications with influenza.
* Children six to 23 months of age.
* Those living or caring for children under 6 months of age.
* Healthy citizens who want to avoid the flu or reduce transmission of the virus.
Larsen said there are plenty of vaccines available and local residents should be immunized now before they are exposed to the illness.
The vaccine will protect against the three strains of influenza most likely to circulate this season.
It also contains a new component against B viruses, which appeared in Oregon last May.
Influenza is an illness characterized by abrupt onset of fever, headache, sore throat, cough, and muscle aches. n Unlike other common respiratory illnesses, influenza is associated with a striking sense of unwellness accompanied by loss of appetite and weakness lasting several days.
* Rest and fluids are important during the acute illness.
* Antiviral drugs are available for both type A and type B infections to shorten the time to full recovery, but they must be started within the first 24 to 48 hours of illness. n Children should not be given aspirin because of the risk of Reye syndrome following influenza.
* For information about flu shot clinics in your area, call 1-800-SAFENET. Information about influenza can be found on the Web at: www.ohd.hr.state.or.us/acd/docs/influenza.htm.