End Flu Season With A Vaccination

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Despite the media hullabaloo about meager supplies of influenza vaccine compounded by rampant strains of sickness afflicting the masses, this flu season has actually been, well, uneventful.

"I think right now it's at an even Steven," said Gila County registered nurse, Susan Waterman. "We haven't peaked out yet and we're still giving flu shots."

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Registered nurse Celestia Lawson administers a flu vaccine during a flu shot clinic in Payson. While flu shots had been in short supply late last year, health officials say there are now plenty of vaccinations available.

Waterman expects flu cases to spike in late March, early April, so she encouraged anyone who hasn't been inoculated to come in.

"We actually have a lot of vaccines," said Waterman. "And we have like 400 doses of the children's vaccine."

Dr. Matthew Bolinger, epidemiologist for Gila County, said only four cases of influenza have been reported this season.

"It's probably the number of people per area. That's why it's not as bad," said Bolinger. "Any time a bug is communicable between persons you're going to see it more prominent in a highly dense area than a rural community."

Nevertheless, Waterman has seen an increase in other illnesses like upper respiratory ailments.

"It's the season," said Waterman. "It's because of the rain and then it's warm. Bugs love the fluctuations."

Bolinger said when you have influenza, you'll know it.

"You're sick," said Bolinger. "Usually people with influenza get high fever, headache and muscle aches and pains. They're very tired and weak. Usually no vomiting or diarrhea. People with influenza usually recover in seven days. A lot of times they'll feel weak after the symptoms go away."

To keep influenza and other illnesses at bay, Bolinger said to wash hands frequently and stay away from public situations if you're sick.

Waterman added if you need medical attention, call your doctor before you visit. A trip to the physician's office could spread your illness to others.

And most importantly, don't hesitate to contact you healthcare provider, especially if you suffer from a sustained high fever.

Flu shots are available at Gila County Health Department, Payson, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. The health department is located at 108 W. Main Street. Please schedule vaccinations by calling (928) 474-1210.

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