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Monday, May 2, 2016

Spencer fights the flu

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The country is going through a flu epidemic, and it is making its way into the Spencer area.

"We are seeing the same trend that the nation is seeing," said Spencer Hospital Community Health/Clay County Public Health Nurse Colette Rossiter.

Rossiter started to see cases of flu in November. Normally cases don't start showing up until the first of the year. "We are seeing a high rate. Not sure if it is our peak, but we may end up peaking early,"

Rossiter said.

Spencer Hospital gives vaccines to children. Though there is a limited amount there, Rossiter and other personnel are always trying to get more. Morse doses did arrive at the hospital this week, according to Rossiter.

Babies can't receive the vaccine until they are 6 months old. Rossiter advises that parents of young babies should get vaccinated as well. Children under 2 years old and the elderly are the most at risk with catching the flu, along with pregnant women.

"We encourage pregnant moms to get vaccinated as well," Rossiter said.

Local pharmacies and family healthcare providers give flu vaccinations as well. Walgreens offers vaccinations, but only to those who are 18 years old and above. There has been a demand for the vaccine since media reports on the illness have come out.

Spencer elementary schools haven't had a big issue with the flu, according to school district nurse Myrna Edmonds.

"We've been lucky so far," Edmonds said. "Just stomach aches and the such. We are making sure kids are washing their hands, covering coughs and sending them home when feeling sick."

Rossiter said Community Health went out into schools in October and gave out around 800 vaccines to kids. She also has some tips for staying healthy during this flu season.

"Stay home if you can, treat yourself. Don't come in to the ER, to keep from infecting other people," she said. "Wash your hands, cover your cough, avoid touching your eyes and mouth. A virus can live on surfaces for up to eight hours."

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