Lansing

Lansing residents prepare for flu season and the holidays

BY: AMANDA CHODNICKI

LANSING STAR STAFF WRITTER


LANSING-Public health officials are urging Lansing residents to get their flu vaccinations as the flu season and holidays approach.

Physician Shane Martin of McLaren Greater Lansing said, “Now is the time they are trying to get people immunized, so the spread and transmission of the flu can be prevented throughout the season.”

Screen shot 2013-12-04 at 1.58.41 AMMartin said that he doesn’t tell his patients not to go to a family function around the holidays. But he does advise them to avoid close contact if possible, especially with those who are very young, very old or just aren’t as well equipped to fighting off infection.

“Not that you can’t be in the same room as a person, but maybe avoid the hugging and the kissing,” Martin said.

Importance of vaccinations

Angela Minicuci, public information officer at Michigan Department of Community Health, said that washing your hands is one good way to avoid getting the flu; however, vaccinations are even more effective.

“By getting vaccinated, people not only protect themselves, but they protect their loved ones,” Minicuci said. “This is because they prevent themselves from harboring the disease and spreading it to others. 

Ashley Rankin, Michigan State University nursing student, said that she was required to get several vaccinations, including the flu shot, in order to work with patients in Sparrow Hospital.

Rankin said the spread of illnesses, like influenza, really can take lives and that’s why it’s so important to get vaccinated.

In fact, Minicuci said last year, seven children in Michigan died from the flu and 200 nationally.

Residents have more options

“As of lately, people not only have the option to get vaccinated at their local health department or by their family physician,” Minicuci said. “But they now have the option to get a flu shot from a nearby pharmacy.”

A majority of pharmacies in Lansing have flu shots in stock and are making them available to people without an appointment needed.

Pharmacists can give a flu shot

In order to administer flu shots at pharmacies, pharmacists must go through a training program.

The program includes pharmacists reading a 150-page manual, followed by an exam. The next phase is hands-on training in order to receive their national certification.

“I think so many people are coming to pharmacies to get flu shots because it’s so convenient,” CVS pharmacist James Bellar said. “The price may be the same, but it’s so much faster and there’s never really a wait.”

Credit: Angela Mincuci from the Michigan Department of Community Health

Bellar said this month he has seen about ten to 15 people come in a day to get the flu vaccination.

“It’s nice to hear more and more people are getting vaccinated,” Minicuci said. “In the end, that’s what is going to help create a community of immunity.”

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