A flu shot is administered at a South Carolina pharmacy.
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The death of 18-month-old Nathaniel Lee Downey is a stark reminder that the flu can kill, and it kills more than just senior citizens.
Each year, the flu in linked to more than 36,000 American deaths. There is no good reason not to receive the flu shot. It is not 100 percent effective, but it provides at least some protection.
This year’s flu season, which can last into the spring, has been particularly deadly. Nathaniel’s death was revealed on the same day that the Ohio Department of Heath announced the state’s first child death from the flu season, a 4-year-old boy from Montgomery County.
Senior citizens and young children are particularly susceptible to complications from influenza. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone over 6 months of age be vaccinated. It is not just those with pre-existing conditions who are at risk. An athletic, 21-year-old aspiring personal trainer from Pennsylvania died after becoming sick while visiting his family over Christmas.
“It is a hard subject to talk about, but it is one this community needs to hear,” Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski said. “It just goes back to the point of making sure our kids are vaccinated ... we’re vaccinated.”
There have been 3,854 hospitalizations in the state through Jan. 6 because of the flu, including 1,750 in the first week of the month.
A flu vaccine cannot guarantee that you will avoid the dreaded fever, body aches, cough, and sore throat of the flu. But it could be the difference between a full-blown case or a minor inconvenience.
At the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, the vaccine is $30, but it will be billed to insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. Small children will not be turned away. It is a cheap preventative step to guard the health of you and your loved ones.
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