BROWN COUNTY - Every year, millions of people in the United States will get sick for a week or two from the flu, but about 36,000 die from complications related to the virus. Not everyone agrees that flu shots are the answer.
The City of De Pere Health Department is gearing up for flu season. Chrystal Woller, the department director, said the season runs from October to May and peaks in January and February.
"Vaccination is the single, most important way a person can avoid coming down with influenza," said Woller.
She said it is hard to predict will happen with the virus this year.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that about 55 percent of children and 35 percent of adults were vaccinated last year. That cut the risk of flu-related medical visits by 56 percent. The effectiveness is usually between 50 and 70 percent.
This year, scientists have included four flu strains in the vaccination.
Dr. Jesse Anderson, a chiropractor at The Wellness Way in Howard, is not convinced the shots are effective.
"It's not something you should just do without thinking about it. There's a lot of risk to it," he said.
Woller said flu shots are safe and can't make a person sick.
"It is not a live vaccine, so the most common side effect is soreness, swelling at the injection site, maybe a little tenderness," she said.
Woller and Anderson agreed that people should maintain a healthy lifestyle through flu season by getting a lot of sleep, exercising, eating well and managing stress.
"If your body isn't functioning properly and not doing its job, then you're going to get sick," said Anderson.
If you are sick, stay home, cover your cough and wash your hands. If you do get vaccinated, Woller said it takes two weeks before it begins working.
The De Pere and Brown County Health Departments are holding their first community flu clinic of the year here at Green Bay East High School on Thursday, September 25 from 3:00-5:30 p.m. The clinic is open to everyone. Children 18 years and younger can get vaccinated for free, while adults will be charged $25. The departments are planning another clinic at the De Pere Community Center on Thursday, October 3 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. People can call the De Pere Health Department at (920) 339-4054 to make an appointment for that clinic.
ThedaCare is also offering many flu clinics in the area.
The CDC said people who are at a high-risk of developing flu related complications include children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions.
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