The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age six months and older receive a flu shot each fall. Every year, millions of people are vaccinated, and Citizen Potawatomi Health Services hosted a community drive-thru vaccination clinic Oct. 7 that added about 1,000 people to that number.
The typical influenza season lasts from October to March but can stretch into May, according to the CDC. Oklahoma State Department of Health recorded 365 influenza-related hospitalizations and 17 deaths in central Oklahoma counties (including Pottawatomie, Cleveland, Canadian, Logan and Lincoln) from Sept. 1, 2016, through Aug. 31, 2017. Statewide, 2,411 were hospitalized, and 110 died.
The flu spreads through the excrements of coughing and sneezing, and the CDC estimates between 140,000 and 710,000 people have been hospitalized nationally each year since 2010. As many as 56,000 die.
Nationally, the CDC estimates between 140,000 and 710,000 people are hospitalized with the flu each year since 2010. As many as 56,000 die.
CPN Health Services Director of Nursing Amber Curtis encourages everyone who can receive a flu shot to get one.
Vaccines can reduce infection rates, work and school day loss, doctor’s office visits and prevent flu-related complications and hospitalizations, CDC data shows.
Curtis said she overheard a family conversation as she was walking out of Walmart a couple of weeks before the community vaccination event.
“[The daughter] goes, ‘Mom, we can get our flu shot.’ [The mom] goes, ‘Honey, we do that at CPN,’” Curtis said. “I was just tickled. I just walked on air all the way back to my car. I thought that was pretty awesome.”
Shots are not recommended for chemotherapy patients and people taking immunosuppressant therapies. However, they are more susceptible to getting influenza and are more vulnerable to developing serious flu-related health complications.
“You don’t take the flu shot for you. You’re going to be fine,” Curtis said. “You take it for the little people in your life and the little old people in your life.”
It’s important for contagious people to reduce their time with those who cannot get a flu shot to avoid spreading the virus. The flu can often develop into pneumonia and even more serious conditions if left untreated.
This is the third year CPN Health Services held the drive-thru flu clinic with the help of Pottawatomie County Health Department, funding from Indian Health Services and nursing students from Oklahoma Baptist University.
Learn more about Citizen Potawatomi Nation Health Services at potawatomi.org/services/health. For more information about the flu, visit cdc.gov/flu.