Brendan Keany

It's Flu Shot Season!

Health experts highly recommend vaccinating before flu season begins

October 17, 2018 - 4:02 am

BUFFALO (WBEN) - Roughly 80,000 Americans died this past this past flu season, which was the highest death total in four decades.

Health experts are warning people to get a vaccine this year.

"Everyone who is over six months of age should get a flu shot," said Amy Wojciechowski, who serves as the infection prevention coordinator for Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. "Unless they've had a specific reaction to the flu shot in the past, or they had a doctor tell them not to, in general, everybody should be getting a vaccine."

Last year's season was bad mainly due to poor effectiveness against one of the more prevalent strains, but Wojciechowski says that steps have been taken to ensure that strain won't be as potent this year.

"Unfortunately, last year the strain that had the highest prevalence was also the vaccine that was the least effective against it, which is part of the reason why there was such a bad flu season last year" she said. "But, they have changed the strain that is in the vaccine this year to hopefully overcome that for this year's vaccine."

Marlene and Marc Thomas were at the clinic yesterday, and they highly recommend that people should get a vaccine. Marlene said that it's great for the community that vaccine clinics are held.

"Actually I called the health department to find out where the clinics were; they're booked until November," she said. "I found it in the paper that we could come here, and I was like, 'Alright, we can both can them at the same time - get the flu and the pneumonia - we're all set.'"

One man said that he gets the vaccine every year more so to protect his family than himself. Every single person who was interviewed at the clincic yesterday had received the shot in the past, and they insist on getting the vaccine every year. Only one person said they still got the flu after having received the vaccine.

Wojciechowski says that people of ages on both ends of the spectrum, especially those who possess depressed immune sytems, are the individuals most succeptible to contracting the flu, and they are the ones that should focus on getting the vaccine.

"It's generally elderly patients, or those who are immunocompromised, or very young patients," she said. "Usually the extremes of age."

However, life can get in the way of finding time to vaccinate, so Wojciechowski discussed the biggest thing to be conscious about during flu season if someone is unable to get the vaccine.

"The biggest thing is going to be hand hygiene, so washing your hands, making sure that you don't touch your mouth after touching something like that," said Wojciechowski. "Preventing it through good hand hygiene and making sure you're not going to be around sick people, and if you do have to go out, just make sure you're washing your hands a lot."




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