Health Department: Remember to get your flu shot!

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- The health department wants to remind everyone in Berrien County to get an annual flu shot. Every person six months or older should get a flu shot each year. Even if you had a vaccination last year, the vaccine becomes less effective over time, so it is important to have a current vaccine.

The flu is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus, which spreads from infected persons to the nose or throat of others. Symptoms include fever, chills, sweating, muscle aches, severe headache, weakness and tiredness, loss of appetite, sore throat, cough, and chest pain. A person can spread the flu virus even before they know they are sick.

Other illnesses can have the same symptoms and are often mistaken for influenza. Influenza is NOT what some people call the “stomach flu” (vomiting, fever, and diarrhea).

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year in the United States, an average of 5 – 20-percent of the population gets the flu, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and about 36,000 die from flu. More than 90-percent of those deaths are among persons age 65 or older.

It is recommended that all people get their flu shot. However, it is HIGHLY recommended for certain groups who are considered at highest risk, including:

• Children 6 months to 18 years, especially 6 months through 5 years
• Anyone 65 years of age or older.
• Anyone on aspirin treatment.
• Women who are pregnant or will be pregnant during the flu season.
• Anyone with: heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease, metabolic disease such as diabetes, asthma, anemia, blood disorders
• Anyone with a weak immune system from HIV, steroids, or cancer treatment.
• Anyone with muscle or nerve disorders
• Residents of nursing homes, chronic-care facilities, dormitories, or crowded places
• People who travel to southern hemisphere April - September
• Anyone who lives with or cares for people at high risk (including infants under six months)

There are two types of flu vaccination: the “flu shot” and the nasal-spray flu vaccine. Both are effective in preventing the flu, and you can talk to your healthcare provider or a nurse at a health department flu clinic to determine which kind of vaccine is best for you and your family.

Contrary to popular myth, the flu vaccine CANNOT give you the flu! Vaccines are safe and are proven to be effective at preventing the flu and saving lives. The health department hosts community clinics in locations throughout Berrien County. Flu shots and FluMist nasal vaccines are available at all clinics, as well as the high-dose flu vaccine for seniors, and a pneumonia vaccine for those who qualify.

The cost for regular flu shots and FluMist is $30. Medicaid, Medicare, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurances are accepted, and receipts are provided for other insurances to reimburse for the cost. High-dose flu vaccine is covered by Medicare B. Lower prices are also available for uninsured children, and no one will be turned away for inability to pay.

Berrien County Health Department 2011 Flu Clinics are as follows:



Salvation Army

232 Michigan Ave.

Benton Harbor, Mich.

Monday, Oct. 3

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

First Church of God

2627 Niles Ave.

St. Joseph, Mich.

Monday, Oct. 3

3 - 6 p.m.

RiverValley Senior Center

13321 Red Arrow

Harbert, Mich.

Tuesday, Oct. 4

9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

New Buffalo High School

1112 E Clay

New Buffalo, Mich.

Thursday, Oct. 6

4 - 6 p.m.

Midway Baptist Church

7517 Red Arrow , Watervliet

Monday, Oct. 10

3:00 - 6:00 pm

Niles Health Department

1205 N. Front Street

Niles, Mich.

Thursday, Oct. 13

3 - 6 p.m.

*All clients must bring insurance cards in order for their insurance to be billed.

For more information, contact the Health Department at 926-7121 or visit our website at


(Source: This was a press release, courtesy of the Health Department)

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