"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Not too late to vaccinate vs. flu

LOS ANGELES COUNTY- Flu season can last until spring, so it is not too late to vaccinate against the flu. Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer, has urged all residents to get a flu shot or the FluMist nasal spray vaccine if they have not done so already.

He said "influenza activity does not often peak until after the start of the new year and can continue through March, so vaccinations received in December provide protection at the time when people are most likely to catch the flu."

It is a mistake to believe that there is no benefit to getting a flu vaccine after November, he added.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the LA County Department of Public Health have declared December 8-14 "National Influenza Vaccination Week" in an effort to encourage people to get the shot.

Free flu vaccines continue to be offered through the county's Public Health clinics for those that do not have a regular doctor or insurance coverage. Sarah Kissell, public information officer, said that they "cannot predict when supplies will run out, but as of now, flu vaccine is readily available."

Each year in the United States, between 5 and 20 percent of the population is infected with influenza, a serious disease that can lead to complications including pneumonia, hospitalization, and even death.

In LA County in 2005, flu and pneumonia complications led to over 2,000 deaths. The flu also has a significant day-to-day impact on families and communities, leading to missed days of work and school, hardships for family care givers, and preventing people from participating in the activities they enjoy.

Yearly flu vaccinations are the best way to prevent influenza. The vaccine can prevent 70-90% of cases in healthy adults under 65 years of age. The vaccine is safe and does not cause the flu. Some minor side effects can occur, signaling that the immune system is responding to the vaccine and building immunity. Such side effects, which usually last only 1 to 2 days, include soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given; a low-grade fever; and aches and pains. These side effects are minor and are far less risky than suffering through the flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stress the importance of flu vaccine for the following:

  • Adults 50 years of age and older
  • Individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes or asthma that put them at risk for serious complications
  • Healthcare workers
  • Pregnant women
  • Caretakers of those at greatest risk for complication and
  • All children over 6 months of age.
Residents are encouraged to first contact their regular doctor for recommended vaccinations. Those who do not have a regular doctor or insurance coverage for vaccines may be eligible for reduced-cost or no-cost vaccines. Free flu vaccines, the traditional shot, FluMist nasal spray vaccine, and thimerosal-free (preservative-free) vaccine continues to be offered while supplies last. To find a Public Health clinic near you, contact LA County's information line at 2-1-1 from any land line or cell phone. On the web, http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/ip or www.findaflushot.com.

Dionesio C. Grava - Community journalist based in Los Angeles. Member of New America Media, Society of Professional Journalists, and Society of Environmental Journalists, among others.

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