Seasonal flu is a preventable illness that can be serious and even deadly.
Each year 5 to 20 percent of the country’s population gets seasonal flu. Nationally, thousands of people die from influenza each year, most of them over age 65; however, the flu can cause serious illness for people of any age.
The 2009 H1N1 flu strain is expected to come back again this season, and it can be especially hard on children and pregnant women. Last season during the H1N1 pandemic, 13 Tennessee children died of the flu.
The Bradley Health Department urges vaccination as the best way to protect from the flu. This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccination.
There is no special pandemic vaccine this season; the 2010 seasonal flu vaccine includes protection against H1N1 flu, in addition to two other strains of seasonal flu expected to circulate this year. Even if you have already had the H1N1 vaccine, you should still get this year’s flu vaccine to protect you from the other strains.
Flu vaccine will be plentiful and is already available from many providers, including private physicians and pharmacies.
The Health Department will bill traditional Medicare — the red, white and blue card — for those with that coverage, but no Medicare Advantage Plans or private insurance will be billed for the shot.
To make an appointment for vaccination or ask questions about flu vaccine, call the Bradley Health Department at 728-7020.