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Arrival of Flu In Wisconsin Leads To Special Flu Clinics By Aurora Visiting Nurse Association

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Milwaukee, Wis. -- With at least 15 reported flu cases in Wisconsin as of the end of November, the Aurora Visiting Nurse Association of Wisconsin is adding special Shoo The Flu & Pneumonia Too! vaccination clinics in December and January.

The start of the increased effort coincides with National Influenza Immunization week, Dec. 8-14, which is designed to highlight the importance of vaccines and to encourage greater use of flu shots through the winter months.

Clinics will be held in Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, Oshkosh, at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee, and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays the weeks of Dec. 8 and 15 at the VNA's Milwaukee-area headquarters,11333 W. National Ave., West Allis. For a complete list of days and times, please consult the Web site or call 1-800-548-7580.

The Aurora Visiting Nurse Association reminds people that it is not too late to protect yourself from the flu. "With the holidays coming up, it's really important to protect you and your loved ones from the flu," said Lisa Taylor, RN, clinical coordinator for Aurora VNA. "It takes one to two weeks before a person gets full immunity after having a flu shot, and the holidays are not the time you want to be sick.

"And the peak of flu season is the end of January to February, so now really is the time to get immunized," she said. "A flu shot is the most effective way to protect yourself from influenza and its potentially dangerous complications. Nationally, more than 36,000 deaths - 78 children last year alone -- and 200,000 hospitalizations are caused by the flu each year."

Taylor noted that in Wisconsin, typically 5% to 25% of the population, depending on location, gets the flu each year. And because flu strains change from year to year, it is necessary to be vaccinated annually.

Only half the people infected with the flu virus exhibit symptoms and can spread the flu without even knowing it, Taylor said. "And after infection, it can take up to four days for those who do exhibit symptoms to get sick, so they can spread the flu to others during that time, too.

"And data show that flu germs can be picked up from nonporous surfaces for up to 48 hours in addition to five minutes on hands, so spreading the flu is really easy."

Medicare Part B and Medicaid cover the cost of flu and pneumonia vaccinations. For others, flu shots cost $30; pneumonia shots are $45.

Flu shots also are available through Aurora physician offices, Aurora QuickCareTM and Aurora Pharmacy sites across eastern Wisconsin. To find the QuickCare nearest you, log onto

One new recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control is that parents make sure any of their children who are under the age of 18 receive a flu vaccination. Previously it recommended immunization for children 6 months to 5 years. The full guidelines from the national Centers for Disease Control include:

  • Anyone 50 or older
  • Children from 6 months to 18 years old
  • Women who will be pregnant during flu season
  • Anyone with long-term health problems
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system
  • Anyone who lives with or cares for people with weakened immune systems
  • Anyone with muscle or nerve disorders that can lead to breathing or swallowing problems
  • Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities
  • Health care providers
  • Anyone who lives with or cares for children
  • Anyone who lives with or cares for people 50 years and older
  • People who are at risk of serious complications from influenza
  • People who provide essential community services
  • People who live in residence halls or other crowded conditions
  • People who travel to the Southern hemisphere between April and September or in organized tourist groups at any time
  • Anyone who wants to reduce his/her chance of catching influenza or spreading influenza to others

Aurora VNA clinics provide immunizations to people age 9 and older. Children from 9 to age 18 must be accompanied by a guardian who can sign the consent form for the immunization.
Pneumonia vaccinations also are available at the clinics. A pneumonia shot is recommended if you are 65 or older, or under 65 with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart or lung diseases.

Aurora VNA is a not-for-profit agency that has been committed to keeping people independent in their homes since 1907, and is the most comprehensive source of home care services in eastern Wisconsin. Aurora VNA is part of Aurora Health Care, a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care.

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Contact: Linda Steiner

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