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City getting ready for flu

September 17, 2012
By DAVE GOSSETT - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - City Health Commissioner Patty Reda is a strong believer in washing her hands to prevent the flu from spreading.

She also believes in the annual flu vaccine and is promoting Wednesday's adult flu vaccine clinic at the Schiappa branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Ohio Department of Health recommends an annual flu shot for everyone over 6 months of age. We have found children are twice as likely to catch the flu than adults. That's why I emphasize good hand washing for everyone - children and adults. That is the best way to avoid the flu," said Reda.

Article Photos

GETTING?VACCINATED — Teresa Mitts, left, a registered nurse at the Steubenville Health Department, received a flu vaccine from Tammie Suffoletta, a registered nurse in the city health department. The health department nurses will be administering the flu vaccines from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday at the Schiappa branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County. Flu vaccinations also will be offered from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday at the city health department on South Third Street. - Dave Gossett

"The city administration recommended a couple of years ago that city employees be vaccinated against the flu. It is a policy that will hopefully keep employees well through the flu season that locally starts in January or February. We also vaccinate our local first responders, and last week we were in the public and private schools providing flu vaccines to the teachers. It is all part of our outreach program," Reda explained.

"We are holding the flu vaccine clinic from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Schiappa Library because we are trying to accommodate city residents. Library Director Alan Hall and his staff are very accommodating to us in arranging the flu vaccine clinic at the library," added Reda.

"We offer the inactive flu vaccine, which is the shot. We do not have the nasal vaccine. But there is no shortage this year," she noted.

Reda said the demand for flu vaccines last year was minimal, "because the prevalence of flu cases simply wasn't there."

"If we see more flu cases then there is usually a demand for the vaccine. I know our local pediatricians are doing a very good job of vaccinating their patients against the flu. And if you are in the hospital for any reason, the patient will be asked about their flu vaccines," stated Sandy Perlosky, a registered nurse in the city health department.

"Receiving the flu shot only takes a few minutes but it can help prevent the spread of influenza. I would encourage all adults to strongly consider getting a flu vaccine this year," Perlosky stressed.

"After Wednesday the adult flu vaccine clinics will begin at the health department from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday. The adult vaccine clinics will continue every Tuesday at the health department until the vaccine supply is depleted," noted Perlosky.

The cost of the flu vaccine is $25 and patients are asked to bring Medicare, Medicaid and other medical insurance cards to the clinics for billing purposes

For information about the pediatric flu vaccine, call the nursing division at (740) 283-6000, extensions 1506 or 1507.

"The vaccine formulation has been changed this year to make it more effective for the anticipated flu strains," said Perlosky.

The Jefferson County Health Department started administering flu vaccines earlier this month and will continue with vaccine clinics Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Yorkville Schlernitzaur Apartments; 10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at Tiltonsville mayor's office; 11 a.m. to noon at the Rayland Municipal Building; and 1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Dillonvale Library.

Wednesday clinics are 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Wintersville Blessed Sacrament Church; and 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Unionport Volunteer Fire Department Hall. And Thursday clinics are set from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the Saline Township Hall; 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Stratton Municipal Building; and 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Pleasant Hill VFD.

Flu vaccines will also be administered at the county health department offices from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.

"It has been a little slow this year at our outreach clinics, in part because flu vaccines are available at almost every area pharmacy and because the number of flu cases was down last year so people may not worry as much about getting the flu. But everyone does need a flu shot every year," according to Cindy Deavers of the Jefferson County Health Department.

"It is important that the certain groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk including, pregnant women, children younger than 5 years old, but especially children younger than 2 years old, people 50 years of age and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, people who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and anyone who live with infants, because the infants can't protect themselves from the flu," said Deavers.

"We do get a lot of the same people every year. Certain people recognize the need for a flu vaccine and stop in at our clinics every year," remarked Deavers.

"The cost of the flu shot is $25, and eligible insurance companies will be billed," added Devers.

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