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February 17, 2011

For More Information Contact

  • Gordon Green, M.D., director, West Piedmont Health District, 276-638-2311
  • Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, 540-381-7100, x 151 or 540-580-2960

FREE FLU VACCINE AVAILABLE AT FERRUM COLLEGE, FEB. 19

(MARTINSVILLE, Virginia) – The West Piedmont Health District will offer free seasonal flu vaccine at a public clinic on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at Ferrum College, in the Trophy Room of the Swartz Gym. The clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vaccine is available to everyone over the age of six months, and will be available in injectable form.

“It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine, and vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and its potentially severe complications,” said Gordon Green, M.D., director of the West Piedmont Health District. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health recommend that all persons over the age of six months be vaccinated annually.”

Virginia has seen widespread flu activity since December 2010 and has recently had an increase in persons reporting flu symptoms and in cases of flu that are confirmed with lab tests. “Flu is here, flu can be deadly, and we’re all at greater risk of contracting the flu right now than at any time so far this season,” noted Dr. Green. “With plenty of flu season ahead, it’s still very important to get vaccinated if you haven’t done so this year.”

This year’s flu vaccine also contains protection against the H1N1 strain of flu that caused so much illness last year. The vaccine takes full effect within two weeks and its benefits last for up to a year.

Influenza, commonly called “the flu,” is a serious disease caused by the influenza virus that affects the respiratory tract. It is highly contagious (the virus can be transmitted even before flu-like symptoms appear) and generally spreads from person-to-person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A person usually becomes sick one to three days following exposure to the virus. Typical flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches, and extreme fatigue.

The influenza season in southwest Virginia usually peaks in January and February. Each year in the United States approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu illness, and flu-related deaths range from 3,000 to 49,000 each year -- averaging 24, 000 -- over the last three decades.

For more information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov or call the West Piedmont Health District at 276-638-2311.

 

Last Updated: 07-30-2011

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