Local News

December 14, 2012

MHP projects flu spread over holidays

OSKALOOSA — The influenza outbreak has begun in Iowa and while the number of confirmed cases is still relatively low, Mahaska Health Partnership Public Health projects that these numbers are likely to grow during this holiday season.

Whether you’re traveling across town or across the country to visit family and friends, your risk of being exposed to the flu is greater. The best way to prevent getting or spreading the flu is to get your flu vaccine.

“A lot of people think it’s too late to get a flu shot, but the flu season usually peaks in February and can last through May,” said MHP Public Health Coordinator Patty Malloy, RN. “The 2012 vaccine matches well with the strains already diagnosed, so it provides a very good chance of avoiding the virus.”

Share time and memories with your family members this holiday season, not flu germs that can leave them coughing, achy and fatigued. According to the Centers for Disease Control, children, pregnant women, people with preexisting conditions such as asthma or diabetes and people over age 65 are at the greatest risk for complications from the flu.

“The best way to protect yourself and your friends and family is to get a flu vaccine. However, it’s also important to wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow when coughing or sneezing,” said Malloy.

MHP Public Health offers Flu Vaccination Walk-In Clinics on Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the MHP campus in Oskaloosa, Mahaska Health West building (Entrance No. 6). Cost for flu vaccines is $20 for the shot and $25 for the mist. Medicare Plan B can be billed with proof of card. MHP Public Health also participates in the Vaccines for Children program to provide flu vaccines to Medicaid, uninsured and underinsured children ages 6 months to 18 years. Call MHP Public Health at (641) 673-3257 for more information or to schedule an after-hours appointment.

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