Free flu vaccines still available by calling MMCH at 934-0699 or the Ripley County Health Department at 689-0506

The flu can be serious, even deadly

Wanda English Burnett

Some people call it the “creeping crud” or “the yuck”. It can bring a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, coughing, and/or a sore throat. It could be the flu.
Influenza or more commonly referred to as the flu, is a viral infection of the respiratory tract that can be fatal.

The first case of death cause by the flu in Indiana for the 2010-2011 flu season was reported just before Christmas. “This is a sad reminder influenza can be very serious and even deadly,” noted Dr. Gregory Larkin, State Health Commissioner.

“The best defense against influenza is to get vaccinated, and everyone over 6 months of age should get the flu vaccine each year,” said Dr. Larkin.

You can still get a flu shot before the peak of flu season. Free flu vaccines are available by calling the Margaret Mary Community Hospital Wellness Clinic at 934-0699. Free flu vaccines are also available for children 6-months to age 18 at the Ripley County Health Department. Call 689-0506 for more information.

The flu is spread by respiratory droplets from close contact with infected persons or contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, according to State Commissioner Larkin. The virus can be spread through contact with the eyes, mouth or nose. People are infected by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with flu viruses and then touching their eyes, mouth or nose.

Anyone can get the flu, but there are people who have a higher risk. The high risk category includes women who are pregnant, children (especially those who are too young to be vaccinated) the elderly, and those who have chronic illnesses and/or compromised immune systems.

As the flu season gets underway, everyone is reminded to wash their hands thoroughly and often. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and whenever possible simply stay away from someone who has the flu.

Margaret Mary Community Hospital, Batesville, has restrictions in place for visitors to help curb the spread of the flu.

Visitors who are under the age of 14 will not be allowed, except the siblings of newborns, who will be screened before visiting.

Also, no one with respiratory symptoms will be allowed to visit. This includes people who are coughing, sneezing, those with runny noses, fever, aches, stomach viruses, etc. MMCH is offering hand sanitizer, tissues, and facemasks to both patients and visitors at all entrances of all hospital campuses.