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Sat, Dec. 07

Flu clinics scheduled at Williams Health Care Center

Every year the seasonal flu contributes to about 36,000 deaths and more than 100,000 trips to the hospital. Flu is easily spread from person to person simply by coughing or sneezing. Also, if you touch something with the virus on it and then touch your mouth or nose, you can contract the virus. A person with the flu is contagious one day before symptoms develop and up to five days after becoming sick.

Flu symptoms include:

• Fever (usually high)

• Headache

• Extreme tiredness

• Dry cough

• Sore throat

• Runny or stuffy nose

• Muscle aches

• Stomach symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated, but good health habits and antiviral medications can also help protect against the flu.

• Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

• Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

• Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

• Clean your hands. Washing your hands with soap and hot water or alcohol hand gel (containing at least 60 percent alcohol) often will help protect you from germs.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. (Source: Centers for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm.

This fall there will be two vaccines - seasonal and H1N1. Seasonal flu shots are now available at the Williams Health Care Center by appointment. The health care center will bill most health plans for the administration and cost of the vaccine. Become familiar with your health plan's payment policy on flu shots since a co-payment may apply. Medicare does cover the cost for flu shots. For those who do not have insurance and pay at the time of service the cost is $25. Vaccines for the H1N1 (aka Novel H1N1 or Swine Flu), the new epidemic strain now circulating will be available mid-October. Watch the News for more updates.

To schedule an appointment, call the WHCC at (928) 635-4441.

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