Flu season starts early

Seasonal flu shots increase with the threat of H1N1

Southwest District Public Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant says she expects this flu season to be challenging.

"We already are seeing high flu activity than usual even before the flu season starts with the H1N1, so we know that once our regular flu season starts we will have additional strands of flu," said Grant.

That's why the district is pushing seasonal flu vaccines; keeping doors to health departments open longer and making the vaccine cheaper? Seasonal flu claims 36,000 lives a year. Those at greatest risk are children six months to 19-years old, pregnant women, people 50 and older, and healthcare workers. Grant says while the buzz about swine flu has pushed more people to get the seasonal flu vaccine, it doesn't protect you from the H1N1 virus, but it can help.

"People can get co-infected with a seasonal flu and this flu, so it's still a part of the armor of prevention," said Grant.

But health departments aren't the only ones vaccinating for the seasonal flu. With minimal paperwork and a 15 minute wait many pharmacies are seeing more and more customers. Walgreen's on Dawson Road says they administered 50 shots the first day and have answered plenty of questions from those concerned about the swine flu.

"Well, our goal is to have vaccinated 1,000, 1,000 people is our goal so in about four days we've done about 130," said Ashley Anderson of Walgreen's Pharmacy.

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