Getting a flu shot helps everyone

North Platte, Neb. (KNOP) - Getting a flu shot helps everyone. For those who can get the shot, they are helping those who cannot - keeping themselves and those at risk safer during the flu season.

The word Influenza is Italian, and is "influence" in English. And it was used to describe diseases, and from what they were "influenced" as early as the 1500's, according to an Internet search.

"Influenced by weather" or "the Influenza" or "the Flu," as we know it has its season here from November to March, usually. The fact that it is cold attributes to definition. When people stay cooped up more often in close spaces (getting less fresh air), and when temperatures are ripe for flu strains - the "flu" can rear its ugly head.

And the flu vaccine can help. Researchers work hard each year to identify the most common and most destructive flu viruses. This year in the central Nebraska area experts say that Influenza A, H3N2 has been the most common strain circulating. Experts keep track so they know how to monitor and assist in coming flu seasons.

Normal flu symptoms can include fever and chills, cough, sore throat, runny and/or stuffy nose, muscle and body aches, headache, fatigue. Less common in adults in children is the possibility of vomiting and diarrhea. The flu is very contagious.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services report currently that Nebraska is at a Local flu level, which means that outbreaks are occurring in a single region.

Shannon Vanderheiden, Executive Director of West Central District Health Department said that getting the flu shot is very important. Babies under 6 months cannot get the flu vaccine, and many other people - such as those with a compromised immune system - cannot. So it is important that healthy people get the shot to minimize the outbreak and spreading the virus.

West Central District Health Department is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. (closed for lunch hour from 11:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.). Appointments are recommended if waiting is a problem. Wednesday are "Walk in Wednesdays," and no appointment is necessary.