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Flu clinic being offered downtown at Tower Square

SPRINGFIELD Yes, it's that time of year again, when the local drug store sells plenty of tissues, cough drops and medications to soothe the debilitating symptoms of influenza. Not to take anything away from drug stores sales, but downtown office workers, residents and patrons could avert the nasty bug this flu season, by getting a simple vaccination at the flu shot clinic sponsored by the Holyoke Visiting Nurses Association on Oct. 30 at Tower Square. From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Meeting Room located on the upper level adjacent to the food court, the VNA nurses will be administering the influenza vaccine on a first-come-first-served basis. The cost for the shot is $25. Individuals who have Medicare Part B as their primary insurer are covered, but need to bring all of their insurance cards to make sure that they qualify. To help you make an educated decision about whether or not you should get the flu vaccine, here are some facts that might be useful. What is influenza? Influenza is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus, which can be spread by coughing, sneezing or nasal secretions. The symptoms include: fever, sore throat, chills, fatigue, cough, headache and muscle aches. While most people recover within a few days, some people can become much sicker. Influenza can lead to pneumonia, which can especially cause serious problems for people with heart or breathing conditions. On average, 226,000 people are hospitalized every year because of influence and 36,000 (most elderly) die from the disease annually. Who should get the flu vaccine? According to the Center for Disease Control the influenza vaccine is recommended for anyone who wants to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with the flu or spreading it to others. There are others who face a greater risk if getting the disease, and they are strongly recommended to get the vaccine. All children six months to 18 years old. Anyone 50 years of age or older. Women who will be pregnant during flu season; Anyone with long-term health problems. Anyone with a weakened immune system. Anyone with certain muscle or nerve disorders. Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities. Health care providers. Household contacts and caregivers of children and adults in high risk categories. Anyone who wants to avoid the risk of getting the illness and potentially spreading it. What is the influenza vaccine? There are two types of flu vaccines: 1) Inactivated vaccine (the one available at the flu shot clinic on Oct. 30) is given by injection into the muscle. 2) Live, attenuated influenza vaccine is sprayed into the nostrils. Influenza viruses are always changing. Because of this, influenza vaccines are updated every year. Each year scientists try to match the viruses in the vaccine to those most likely to cause flu that year. When there is a close match the vaccine protects most people from serious influenza-related illnesses. Tower Square is located at 1500 Main St. For additional information contact the Tower Square Marketing Department at 733-2171 ext. 107.

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