Pella Chronicle

October 18, 2013

Vaccinations offered to Marion County students at school


The Chronicle

Pella — The Iowa Department of Public Health reports three cases of seasonal influenza have been identified in eastern and central Iowa in the last two months. All Iowans 6 months of age and older should get their flu vaccination now. Vaccinations are not just for the very young or for the older population, it’s for everybody to prevent the spread of illness.

Marion County Public Health is offering the regular flu vaccination to the students at the Knoxville, Pleasantville, Twin Cedars and Melcher School districts this year.  Contact your school nurse for more information.  Marion County Public Health Administrator Kim Dorn states “adolescents have been a tough group to target; this is one way to help the parents and to reduce the incidence of influenza in Marion County.”

Influenza is an illness of the nose; throat and lungs that can lead to pneumonia for the very young or older; it can lead to severe health complications. It is not the 24-72 hour stomach bug that some people call the stomach flu, there is no vaccination for that. 

Influenza usually lasts five to seven days. Once you are exposed the typical incubation period for influenza is one to four days.  Adults usually shed or share the virus from the day before symptoms begin through 5—10 days after illness onset.  Once you receive your vaccinations it takes about two weeks for your body to build immunity and you can still catch the flu during that time. The best way to prevent the spread of the flu is to get vaccinated.  You should also always cover your cough and wash your hands 15-20 seconds with soap. 

There are more options for vaccination this year than ever before and most pharmacies and clinics have these available.  Folks ages 65 and older should consider getting the high dose flu shot.  A higher dose of antigen in the vaccine is supposed to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu.

The quadrivalent influenza vaccination has 4 strains instead of the usual 3 strains of flu that it will protect you against.  There is no difference in side effects and the cost should be the comparable to the regular flu shot and covered under insurance. 

The intradermal flu vaccine is a shot that is injected into the skin instead of the muscle. The intradermal shot uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot, and it requires fewer antigens to be as effective as the regular flu shot. 

Finally the flu mist is not an injection but a nasal mist that contains the live vaccine for folks 2 years old to 50 years old who have no respiratory problems. 

Influenza may not be the only vaccination you need.  If you would like to find out what vaccinations would benefit you or have any questions regarding vaccinations call Marion County Public Health at 641-828-2238.