October 31, 2007 Edition

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Flu shot clinic has
multiple benefits

Dr. Ralph Joseph
Guest Writer

Fall is the time of year that the flu strikes in Arkansas, as people begin to move inside and spend more time together in close proximity. The virus is easily spread from person to person. Once it gets started, everyone needs to be careful, especially those who are most susceptible.

Here in Lawrence County, we are using the flu season to practice the procedures we would follow if we experienced something much more serious than an ordinary flu season. If we were to have a terrorist attack in Arkansas, or if we found ourselves in a pandemic outbreak of a deadly new strain of the flu, there is a plan in place to help us get medicine or other assistance to the people who need it quickly. The flu season gives us opportunity to practice the distribution methods we would use if we had to protect our entire population against the kinds of threats we face today. A little practice now could pay real life-saving benefits later.

The Lawrence County Health Unit is practicing its Local Mass Dispensing Plan and will be providing free flu shots at Main Street Church of Christ in Walnut Ridge from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 8. The Lawrence County Health Unit is part of 81 health units statewide that are participating in one-day mass flu vaccination clinics.

Influenza is a serious health issue. It can cause mild to severe illness and results in 25-50 million infections and about 36,000 deaths in the United States each year. The economic impact in lost time at work is huge. A flu shot is your best protection from influenza, when accompanied by good respiratory hygiene: cover your mouth when you cough, try to stay away from other people who are sick, wash your hands regularly though out the day and stay home if you get sick.

In spite of what some people say you can't get sick from a flu shot. The vaccine uses a dead virus, which can't multiply and, therefore can't infect you.

So this year, take good care of yourself and those around you. Come to the Main Street Church of Christ in Walnut Ridge and get your flu shot and help Lawrence County exercise its emergency plans and be better prepared!

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