Health Care

Free clinic helps people fight the flu

Free clinic helps people fight the flu

It's flu shot season, but the pinch of a shot doesn't have to also hurt your wallet.

If scientists recognize that the flu vaccine is not 100% effective, do not refuse to get vaccinated.

While it is possible to get influenza at any time during the year, the official flu season is coming up.

For most healthy people, flu is an unpleasant but usually self-limiting disease, with recovery generally within a week or two.

"It's hard to predict exactly what will be the predominant strain but getting a flu shot is the most effective way to prevent the flu".

A government program also pays for shots for low-income children. One person with the flu can infect other people one day before any symptoms develop, and up to about seven days after he/she becomes sick.

For those paying cash, pharmacies generally charge $20 to $45 per shot, but the price can vary based on which drugstore you visit.

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"Contrary to popular myth it can't give you flu because it has no live vaccine".

Websites such as can help locate where doses are available in your neighborhood.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last winter was the deadliest year for the flu in the last 40 years.

However, it can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups including older people, pregnant women and people with an underlying health condition.

The vaccine is considered the best available tool in fighting flu, but it's not ideal.

"The flu virus mutates and changes easily".

For infants and the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, the flu shot is essential protection against serious illness.

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The severity of the flu last season is attributed to a specific strain of the flu, specifically risky to the elderly and children. More than 80 percent of doses are created to protect against four flu strains.

Only about one in three upstate NY adults receives an annual flu vaccine, according to a review of NY state health data by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

The vaccine is highly recommended for people at greater risk of flu-related complications and health care employees.

In recent years, over 9,000 people nationwide were admitted to hospital with confirmed cases of flu and ten per cent of all patients admitted died as a result of the flu virus. In fact, most flu vaccines are "inactivated" which means they contain no actual influenza (flu) virus at all.

For all these reasons, vaccine effectiveness will be known only after Christmas, notes Dr. Jean Longtin.

"You still want to take those every day, preventative actions", she said.

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