Elizabeth Doney Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
As of Jan. 26, a total of 18 confirmed influenza cases have been reported in Montana with no cases confirmed by the local clinics in Hill County. Peak season for influenza is February and March and the Bullhook Clinic still has a number of flu vaccinations available for Hill County residents. Cost for the vaccinations are $10 for children who are between the ages of six months and 18 years. Adults, 18 years and older qualify for a low price of $22 per vaccination. Influenza is a serious respiratory disease caused by a virus with an average of 36,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year. According to the Immunization Action Coalition, vaccination is the best way to avoid getting influenza and is usually 70 to 90 percent effective in preventing influenza. “The biggest thing with influenza is to protect yourself, your family and your co-workers from contacting the flu virus,” said R.N. Danielle Golie of Bullhook Clinic said. “There are not any cases in Hill County and that’s why we definitely want to get the remaining vaccinations that we have available administered.” Unvaccinated healthy people who get influenza can spread the virus to others who are vulnerable, so protecting yourself with the vaccine is also protecting others. Symptoms that are common with a simple cold are stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat, cough and chest discomfort. With the flu, the chest discomfort and cough becomes severe and accompanies a high fever lasting three to four days with prominent headaches, fatigue and weakness lasting up to two to three weeks with general body aches and pains. Extreme exhaustion is prominent with the flu and is one of the early symptoms that can be distinguished from the common cold. Complications from influenza include bronchitis and pneumonia which are both life threatening if not treated early. These complications are treated with amantadine or rimantadine within 24 to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms. Early detection is critical to treating patients with the flu virus. Prevention with anti-viral drugs is very important to avoid getting the life threatening disease. Contact your primary care provider or the Hill County Health Department for more information or to schedule an appointment for a vaccination.