Health officials recommend people get flu shots
Free shots available in Lynnwood on Jan. 18
SNOHOMISH COUNTY - If your holidays were spent coughing in bed, you’re not alone.
Snohomish County health officials are urging people to get a flu shot now as a hardy and deadly flu strain began spreading last month.
A re-emergence of H1N1, known as the swine flu, has killed 11 people in the state so far, including a Bothell woman in her 30s last week. A local hospital reported the flu has hospitalized many others.
This strain has enough power to take down healthy people in their 20s and 30s, health officials said.
There is more flu to come. The flu season may only be one-third complete, The Everett Clinic spokeswoman Michelle Graves said.
This flu seems to affect adults in their prime. “It seems to be hitting our middle-aged population more,” Graves said.
Providence Regional Medical Center reports the flu is strong enough to put three Snohomish County residents in intensive care, Providence spokeswoman Cheri Russum said.
Some young people with low-wage hourly jobs are avoiding the flu shot because of cost, but being forced to lose work hours to the flu is “reason enough to get vaccinated,” Russum said. A flu shot can cost up to $30.
Providence treated eight confirmed cases of swine flu two weeks ago that required hospitalization.
Over the last few weeks, the hospital has treated 43 flu cases.
Stay home if you’re sick, Russum said.
“This next few months could be a rough start to 2014 for people who do not protect themselves from the flu,” said Nancy Furness, director of the Communicable Disease Division with the Snohomish Health District.
The Snohomish Health District hosted two free flu shot clinics in Everett last week.
A free flu shot clinic is happening in Lynnwood on Saturday, Jan. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th St. SW, hosted by Verdant Health.
The flu clinic is free for both insured and uninsured people, Verdant spokeswoman Jennifer Piplic said.
Last year’s winter flu season was comparatively mild, health district spokeswoman Suzanne Pate said.
National media reports that the H1N1 flu has spread to more than 25 states this winter and has been rapidly growing stronger this month.
The flu killed eight people last year in the state, health officials said.
Protect yourself from the flu
Washing hands, covering your coughs, and staying home when you are sick are effective ways to reduce spreading and getting diseases. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and others.
Everyone 6 months and older should get a shot every year, since the flu vaccine changes to match the most common illnesses, the health district said. Flu shots do not contain live virus, so you can’t get the flu from the flu shot, the health district said.
The flu vaccine is strongly recommended for people who are:
• 6 months old and up
• 50 years and older
• age 6 months and older with certain chronic health conditions
• pregnant and in any trimester
• living in long-term care facilities
• living with or caring for those at high risk for complications from the flu
• health care personnel
• household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of infants age 0-6 months (who are too young to receive vaccine)
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