Langlade Co. Health Dept. Administers Flu Vaccine to Thousands

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Flu season is just around the corner. To keep you and your family protected local, state and federal agencies recommend getting vaccinated.

So far, there have been zero reported cases of influenza in the state this season, and many health departments are working to keep it that way.

Ruth Rettinger, of Antigo, can clearly remember what it's like to have the flu.

"It was nasty, you know you're sick for several days and I missed several days of work," she said.

To avoid that experience, she's protecting herself with a flu vaccine.

"I'm getting a flu shot because it's recommended by my doctor," she said. "Of course it's supposed to prevent you from getting really sick in the flu season."

Dick Hurlbert is visiting the Langlade County Health Department for the same reason.

"I came to get my flu shot and I came here because I'm on the board," he said. "Plus I get a quad, I take care of four flus in one shot," he said.

This year in addition to the trivalent vaccine, which protects against three strains of influenza, people can get the quadrivalent vaccine, which protects against four.

However, only 20 percent of the nation's supply is the quad vaccine.

"The majority of the nation will be protected by three - the two type As and one type B and the only reason they came up with the fourth, the quadrivalent is because last year they had a lot of people become ill from the type B strain that was going around," said Karen Hegranes, the public health nurse supervisor at the Langlade County Health Department.

Another option for the influenza vaccine is FluMist, which is a nasal spray, and can offer a less traumatic experience.

This may be particularly helpful to children who can get squeamish in front of needles.

Already this fall in Langlade County, the health department has administered 2,000 flu vaccines. Thirteen-hundred of these people are school aged children. The county is one of a few that facilitates school-based clinics.

"At some of our schools we've actually quadrupled the number of vaccinations we've done and so we've really been excited to see the numbers up because we know the more young people that get covered from influenza the more likely that we're not going to see as much infection in the community," Hegranes said.

As for when we'll start seeing flu, Hegranes says the holidays are the perfect time for traveling families to spread some disease along with their holiday cheer.

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