Avoid flu blues—time for seasonal vaccines

D&W Fresh Markets, Family Fare offer flu, pneumonia vaccinations

Local D&W Fresh Markets and Family Fare neighborhood stores are providing seasonal flu and pneumonia vaccinations. This provides convenient locations for area residents to receive low-cost seasonal flu and pneumonia vaccinations and educational materials. The Rockford D&W at 201 Marcell Drive will provide flu and pneumonia vaccinations on October 5 and 7 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Family Fare store at 4175 17 Mile Road, Cedar Springs, will provide both vaccinations on October 6 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We urge area residents to take advantage of this low-cost community service and protect themselves against both influenza and pneumonia,” said Eddie Garcia, director of pharmacy for Spartan Stores. “According to the Centers for Disease Control, the single best way to protect against the seasonal flu is to get your vaccination each year.”

The cost of a seasonal flu shot is $24.99 while the pneumonia vaccine, available at select locations only, is available for a $50 charge. Participants may pay with cash, check or money order. Medicare part B is also accepted unless the participant has a supplement insurance provider.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/, in general, anyone who wants to reduce the chances of getting the flu should get vaccinated every year. Annual vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or people who live with or care for high-risk individuals. People who are at high risk for complications from seasonal flu and should get a seasonal flu vaccine each year are:

• children 6 months through 18 years of age,

• pregnant women,

• people 50 years of age and older,

• people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, and

• people who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from seasonal flu and should get a seasonal flu vaccine each year are:

• household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu (see above),

• household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated), and

• healthcare workers.

The flu and pneumonia vaccinations are not recommended for anyone with egg, chicken or feather allergies.

If you have any questions regarding the 2010 seasonal flu vaccination, please consult your physician.

The timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later. The flu usually spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks and the virus is transmitted into the air. Unlike many other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, the flu causes severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people. Each year in the United States on average, 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu, on average more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications, and about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes.

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