MASON CITY, Iowa - The holiday season is just around the corner, which means that flu season is too.
According to the Mayo clinic, it is important to get your annual vaccine because in severe cases the influenza virus can have deadly complications.
“We know that kids get sick and it's something that every parent has to worry about,” said Andrew Ramaekers.
“Usually around the holidays you're going to start seeing influenza activity,” says Bethany Bjorklund, the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health Immunization Nurse.
So how are locals attempting to prevent catching this potentially deadly virus?
“We really encourage at our home a lot of hand washing. We know that germs are going to be going around but, trying to teach our kids at young age that it's important to wash their hands,” added Ramaekers.
While this is a good first step, it is not the only way to prevent the flu.
“The most important thing about the flu vaccine, as with any vaccine, is that they want to prevent complications and deaths from this deadly disease. The flu vaccine does do that; it does need to be more effective, but it is your best chances at preventing the complications,” says Bjorklund.
But, there are several different types of vaccines.
“There's different flu vaccine products out there on the market and we also have flu vaccines available specifically for adults 65 years of age and older,” said Bjorklund.
Bethany says it is important to get your annual vaccine because the virus is always changing.
“It always is changing and mutating. There's a little bit different strands.”
But there is a particular type of strand that infects most people.
“The ones that cause the most trouble and make people really, really sick are your a-strands. There's two different a-strands in all of the vaccines out there. So, like I said, those are just a little bit different than last year hoping to continue and try to be as close of a match as possible,” added Bjorklund.
However, children in the classroom are especially susceptible to the virus.
“It comes in waves. Yeah, it definitely - you know you get one, you get two, you get six, you get half your class is gone,” added Ramaekers, a local fifth grade teacher.
Most insurances will cover the cost of the vaccine, but the Cerro Gordo County Public Health Immunization Clinic offers it for as little as $35 for those without coverage over six-months of age. No appointment is necessary.+
Medical professionals suggest getting a flu shot if you are pregnant, a young child, or over the age of 65.
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