When it comes to flu season, coming down with the bug can be more than an inconvenience. The Centers for Disease Control says 36,000 people in the United States die each year from influenza.
Those at highest-risk are the elderly, those with weak immune systems and children under age two.
Cotton-O'Neil Dr. Eric Voth says influenza is very virulent, and when you can't fight it off, it can be very serious and lead to serious respiratory problems or even death.
The best defense for everyone is the influenza vaccine. Last year, a shortage meant long lines, but Dr. Voth says that's not expected this year. Still, to avoid a rush, the CDC is recommending clinics target high risk people first, then open the shots to everyone around Oct. 24.
Dr. Voth says that would actually benefit healthy people. He says the flu shot doesn't last all that long, so if you get it too soon, it could wear off before the end of flu season. Dr. Voth says getting a shot in late-October or early-November is good timing to carry you through the peak flu season of January into February.
For that reason, Dr. Voth says those who are severely immuno-compromised should get their shot now, then talk to their doctor to see if they should roll up their sleeve for a second dose after the first of the year.
Flu Shot Clinic Information
Cotton-O'Neil Patients only
High-risk groups only
Cotton-O'Neil Heart Center, 929 Mulvane
Oct. 18 thru Nov. 18
Tues. thru Fri., 8:30 am to 4 pm
Stormont-Vail Surgical Suites covered parking area, 9th & Garfield
Oct. 18 thru 28
Tues. thru Fri., 8:30 am to 3 pm
High-risk groups only
Shawnee County Health Agency
Noon to 6 pm
Wed., Oct. 19
Gage Shelter House
(next to zoo in Gage Park)
Garfield Shelter House
(1600 NE Quincy)
(1320 SE 6th)
**vaccinations should open to the general public the week of Oct. 24
What groups are high-risk?
*People 65 years of age and older
*Children ages 6 months to 23 months
*Persons aged 2 to 64 with chronic medical conditions (asthma, heart disease, COPD, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, hemoglobin disorders, weakened immune system, neuromuscular diseases, etc.)
*Children and teens, ages 6 months to 18 years, who take aspirin daily
*Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities
*Household members and caregivers of infants under the age of 6 months
*Health care workers who provide direct, face-to-face, hands-on patient care