The Times West Virginian


January 23, 2014

Getting a flu shot now helps prevent chance of illness later

Some things about winter never change.

It’s cold.

There will likely be snow.

And people you know (or maybe even you) will get the flu.

With positive cases of the flu as well as a lot of influenza-like illness being reported in Marion County, it’s important to do everything possible to stay healthy.

Earlier this month, officials at the Marion County Health Department said 31 cases of the flu had been reported locally. Of those cases, almost all were influenza type A, and many were H1N1, which is a strain of influenza type A. The county also had received 107 reports of influenza-like illness.

Patients are diagnosed with influenza-like illness when they have a fever of 100 degrees or higher along with a cough or sore throat, but no other symptoms. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, chills and headaches, and just feeling bad and general malaise.

And with flu season typically lasting through March, there are still plenty of steps you can take to help ensure you don’t get sick.

Health officials have long touted getting a flu shot as the best defense against the flu. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, vaccination against the flu can reduce the chances of flu illnesses, doctors’ visits and missed work due to flu as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

The flu shot is recommended for everyone, but especially for children, people over 65, pregnant women and individuals with chronic diseases. People with egg allergies or who have had allergic reactions related to the flu vaccine in the past should not get the immunization. In addition, the vaccine should not be given to individuals who have had Guillain-Barre syndrome.

And, as the CDC points out, the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. The most common side effects from a flu shot are soreness where the shot was given, a low fever or achiness. Those who receive the nasal spray flu vaccine might experience congestion, runny nose, sore throat or cough. Health officials remind patients that side effects are usually mild and short-lived.

Of course, protection doesn’t end with the flu shot. It’s also important to remember some basic courtesies: Wash your hands. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Simple steps like these help prevent getting the flu or making others ill.

And perhaps most important — health officials say if you’re sick, stay home.

The health department, located at 300 Second St. in Fairmont, holds an immunization clinic from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Wednesday. No appointments are accepted, as these services are for walk-ins only. Once people have received the vaccine, it takes up to two weeks to develop complete immunity and protection.

West Virginia is among 40 states in the U.S. reporting widespread flu activity, and health officials say it isn’t too late to get vaccinated.

With two months of the flu season left, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Text Only
  • COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay

    Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.

    April 20, 2014

  • The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings

    During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.

    April 20, 2014

  • Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated

    Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
    During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.

    April 18, 2014

  • Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

    A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
    Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

    April 17, 2014

  • State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
    For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better

    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

  • Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community

    Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
    Marion County is full of volunteers.
    They read to our youth.
    They assist nonprofit agencies.
    They serve on boards and committees.
    And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.

    April 10, 2014

  • Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law

    West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.

    April 9, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads