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Hamilton Co. Health Department urges residents to get flu shots

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The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department is urging everyone to get their flu shot this season.

You are eligible and encouraged to get a flu shot if you are 6 months or older.

The Health Department's offering flu shots at all of the Hamilton County locations starting on Monday, October 9.

Selected insurance providers such as Medicare, TennCare, and other insurance providers are billed for the flu shots. Some people with these insurances may qualify for free or reduced cost vaccines.

Patients are able to pay $35 out of pocket for a standard flu vaccination.

"Getting a flu shot is the most effective way to prevent catching the flu," says Connie Buecker, Communicable Disease Clinics Program Manager at the Health Department, "It's also the best way to protect those around you who cannot get the vaccine, such as babies under 6 months old and others who cannot get a flu shot for a variety of reasons."

The influenza virus is easily spread from person to person. Sneezing, coughing and talking product infectious droplets that eventually contact the mouth, nose, and mucous membranes of another person. This causes the virus to move quickly though the population.

When the virus reaches someone who has had the vaccine, they are less likely to get the flu and less likely to transmit the virus to others. The more people that are vaccinated, the harder it is for the virus to spread.

Young children, adults aged 5 years or older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions are at risk for more serious complications from the flu, requiring hospitalization or even resulting in death.

In 2015, there were 4 influenza deaths recorded from Hamilton County. There were a total of 12 deaths that year from the entire NewsChannel 9 viewing area.

Flu systems normally last from a few days to less than two weeks. You are able to infect others even if you don't show any symptoms. Flu symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

There are important steps that you can take to help prevent getting the flu:

  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Seek medical care if you become sick and take the anti-virals if prescribed by your health care provider
  • Cover your cough or sneeze, and if you do so with a tissue, throw it away, do not carry it around
  • Keep our immune system healthy by quitting tobacco, eating healthy, and being active

Locations of all Health Department locations in Hamilton County:

  • 3rd Street Main Campus: Adults - call for appointment at 209-8340, Children - walk-in; call 209-8050
  • Ooltewah Health Center: walk-in; call 238-4269 for more information
  • Sequoyah Health Center: walk-in; call 842-3031 for more information
  • Birchwood Health Center: walk in or appointment; call 961-0446 for more information
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Go to the Hamilton County Health Department's website to learn more.

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