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Clayton health officials offering flu shots to residents

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Board of Health is, again, making flu shots available to residents of the county.

The vaccination costs $25, and is available from 8:30 a.m., to 4 p.m., at the Clayton County Board of Health's comprehensive health facility at 1117 Battlecreek Road, Jonesboro. Payment will be accepted by check, cash, credit card, Medicaid or Medicare.

The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the best time to get a flu shot is in either October or November, but a person can still get the shot in December. The flu season typically lasts from October to May, and the CDC encourages people to get flu shots every year.

"We know that the very young, the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions are the ones who are most at risk of developing serious complications from the flu," said Dr. Alpha Fowler Bryan, the district health director for the Clayton Board of Health. "We want to provide the necessary safeguards against the flu."

The Board of Health is offering vaccinations at several off-site flu clinics throughout the next month, according to Veronda Griffin, a spokesperson for the board. The four sites announced are:

· Paradise Church of God in Christ, 4234 Hendrix Dr., Forest Park, at 5 p.m., on Oct. 31.

· Lake City Community Center, 5535 North Parkway, Lake City, from 7 a.m., to 7 p.m., on Nov. 6.

· Jones Memorial United Methodist Church, 5320 Phillips Dr., Morrow, from 3 p.m., to 6 p.m., on Nov. 14.

· Jonesboro First United Methodist Church, 142 South Main St., Jonesboro, from 3 p.m., to 6 p.m., on Nov. 28.

For more information about the Clayton County Board of Health's flu vaccination program, call the board's office at (678) 610-7199.

The health board urges flu shots for people over the age of 50, residents of nursing homes and long-term health care facilities, anyone with a chronic illness, individuals who are HIV-positive, anyone receiving long-term aspirin therapy, pregnant women, children under the age of 5, health care workers involved in direct patient care, and people in frequent contact with people who fall into a high-risk group.

The flu is mainly spread through coughing or sneezing, according to the CDC. It is possible to obtain the flu by touching an object with the virus on it, and the person then puts his or her fingers on his or her mouth, or nose. A person is usually infected from, the day before symptoms develop to five days after becoming sick, according to the CDC.

Between five and 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu, and more than 200,000 people are annually hospitalized because of flu complications. The CDC also reports that about 36,000 people die annually from the flu.

Symptoms of the flu include: high fever, sore throat, a runny nose, dry cough, chills, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches and muscle aches. Complications from the flu can also lead to pneumonia, and ear and sinus infections. It can also make chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure or diabetes, worse for the affected person.