CHN, Wild Rose Health Officials Recommend Influenza Vaccine
Cooler temperatures and changing leaves are not only signs that the seasons are changing, but also a reminder that influenza season is right around the corner. Flu – or as influenza is commonly called – is a respiratory illness with coughing, congestion, fever, aches and pains. The Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone over the age of 6 months receive a vaccination against influenza.
Craig Batley, DO, a family medicine physician with Community Health Network in Berlin, urges everyone get vaccinated to prevent coming down with the contagious respiratory illness.
“There are serious outcomes to getting the flu, including hospitalization or death,” he said. “The people with the highest risk of developing serious complications are older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions. Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent getting the flu.”
Corey Zeller, MD, a family medicine physician with Waushara Family Physicians in Wautoma and Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital, said people who get influenza can be sick for more than a week, missing a lot of school or work. He advises people get vaccinated during October or November – before the main influenza season hits around Christmas.
“The earlier you get the flu shot, the better. It can take up to two weeks for you to receive full protection from the immunization,” Dr. Zeller said. “I also tell people that the shot won’t make you sick. It helps prevent you from getting sick and is an easy way to protect yourself from a serious illness.”
Area residents can receive the influenza vaccination at their local Community Health Network or Waushara Family Physicians clinic. Patients should contact their medical provider to set up a time to stop in and get the vaccination, which will then be entered into their electronic medical record.
Vaccinations not only prevent people from getting sick, but also help stop the spread of the disease and protect people who cannot receive the vaccine, such as newborns, Dr. Batley said. While the CDC recommends everyone be vaccinated against influenza, people over the age of 50, children, people with chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes, pregnant women, healthcare workers, and people who live or work in nursing home facilities are especially encouraged to receive the vaccine because they are most at risk of developing serious complications, he added.
The FluMist, a nasal spray flu vaccine, is also available for patients ages 3 to 49. It may not be appropriate for all patients in that age range depending on some health restrictions so patients will need to check with their doctor.
For patients over the age of 65, a high-dose vaccination, which has more than four times as much antigen as the regular shot, is available. Most insurance providers and Medicare cover flu shots.
The pneumococcal vaccine is also available for adults, Dr. Zeller said. People over the age of 65 are encouraged to receive this vaccination, which helps prevent pneumonia. Medicare covers the cost.
“That vaccine is something I definitely recommend for my patients over age 65. It provides extra protection against pneumonia, which can be very serious for older adults,” he said.
ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of seven hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, ThedaCare Medical Center-New London, Shawano Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca, Berlin Memorial Hospital, and Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare At Home. ThedaCare is one of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.