Fall is just around the corner, and while most people are looking forward to the cooler temperatures, the leaves changing and the holidays that come with autumn, it also means that flu season is here.
The Ford County Health Department, as well as the hospital, physicians and even the local pharmacies are preparing by offering the flu vaccine to all Dodge City residents.
"It's important to get vaccinated if you're in the high risk category for contracting the flu virus," said Steven Childers, a registered nurse at the health department. "Very young children, the elderly and those in poor health should get vaccinated as soon as possible."
Childers also said that it's important to remember that people die from the flu each year, so don't assume that contracting the virus isn't a big deal. And, even if you don't get sick from the flu, you could easily pass it on to someone with a weaker immune system who could get really sick.
"Every time we vaccinate one person against the flu, we're preventing the virus from passing to countless other people as well," said Childers. "We just don't see the effect, because there's nothing to observe."
So far, demand for the vaccination has been low, but it's still early. Childers said that many parents are bringing their children to the health department for back-to-school vaccinations and getting the flu shot at the same time, and every person that comes in is given the opportunity to get the vaccination.
"I don't anticipate running low on vaccinations, especially because so many locations offer the shot, but if we do start to run out, we will have to give priority to those most at risk," said Childers.
He encourages those most at risk to get the vaccination as soon as possible, just in case there is a run on them later in the season.
Although there is no guarantee that someone who has been vaccinated won't get the flu, it does significantly reduce the risk.
The Ford County Health Department will offer flu shots Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome. If someone is unable to come to the health department because of a disability or limited mobility, the health department will send someone out to their house to get them vaccinated. For more information call (620) 227-4545.
Reach Julia Kazar at (620) 408-9913 or e-mail her at email@example.com