Massena Memorial Hospital offering 150 free flu shots Oct. 23
Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 9:01 am

MASSENA -- Massena Memorial Hospital will give free flu shots to the first 150 eligible community members to visit the hospital’s community education room Tuesday, Oct. 23 from noon to 4 p.m. To be eligible you must be over the age of 19.

About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop that protect against influenza virus infection. Flu vaccines will not protect against influenza-like illnesses caused by other viruses.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends vaccination in October or November, but getting vaccinated in December or even later can still be beneficial. Flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May.

Every year in the U.S., on average:

• 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu

• More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu complications

• About 23,500 (and as high as about 48,000) people die from seasonal flu

Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious complications from seasonal flu. Those who live or work with people who are at high risk should get vaccinated against seasonal influenza.

The CDC recommends vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older. Vaccination should begin as soon as the 2012-2013 season vaccine is available.

Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for persons who are at increased risk for severe complications from influenza or at higher risk for influenza-related outpatient, emergency department, or hospital visits.

Those at increased risk are:

• Children aged 6 months to 4 years

• All persons aged 50 years or older

• Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary (including asthma) or cardiovascular (except isolated hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurological, hematologic, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus)

• Adults and children who have immune system suppression (including immune system suppression caused by medications or by HIV)

• Children and adolescents (aged 6 months--18 years) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection

• Residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities

• American Indians/Alaska Natives

• Persons who are morbidly obese (BMI over 40)

• Health care personnel

• Household contacts and caregivers of children younger than 5 years and adults aged 50 years or older, with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children younger than 6 months

• Household contacts (including children) and caregivers of persons with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for severe complications from influenza

If you have questions about whether you should get a flu vaccine, consult your health-care provider.