Andover Elementary/Middle School held its third annual school-based flu clinic for students on October 12. Over the last three years, participation has increased from year to year. In 2010 only 26 students participated. In 2011 the number rose to 76, and this year we had 86 participants, which is 35% of our student population. Participants included children from kindergarten to eighth grade.
Parents were given the option of having their child receive FluMist or the injectible vaccine. The success of the school-based clinic lends itself to the convenience of being held during regular school hours. An additional benefit is the reduction of financial burden to families, due to lack of insurance, high co-payments, or transportation expenses. Thank you to the Caring Community Network of the Twin Rivers for its assistance in making this program available to the children of AE/MS.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Other defenses against the flu consist of good hand washing, proper cough etiquette, as well as staying home when sick.
Now is the time to get your flu vaccine. By getting the vaccine, you can protect yourself and avoid spreading influenza to others. While little flu activity has been reported to date, flu season usually begins in October and can run into May. Flu activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks to months. Keep in mind that it takes about two weeks for protection to develop after being vaccinated. Protection lasts for one year.
Please consider having you and your family immunized against influenza. While most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, which could result in missed work and school days, others may develop more severe complications (such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear infections) as a result of the flu, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death.
Additional information on the 2012-2013 flu season can be found at CDC.gov/flu/.