FLINT, Michigan — Cough. Fatigue. Body aches. Runny nose. Fever. Chills. These are just some of the symptoms signaling to your body that you’ve caught the highly contagious influenza virus. Fortunately, this year, as part of Hamilton Community Health Network’s 'Roll Up Your Sleeve' campaign, the healthcare organization is providing various communities with access to influenza vaccinations free of charge.
Each of Hamilton's seven primary clinic locations across Michigan will be offering flu vaccinations, allowing members of multiple communities to have access to a much-needed healthcare resource.
While everyone should take preventative measures to protect themselves from illnesses and viruses such as the flu, the implications span far and wide for those in many communities, specifically for those who may be immunocompromised, have underlying health conditions, or are vulnerable members of society such as the elderly and children. However, it is wise to note that children less than 6 months of age are too young to be vaccinated against the influenza virus.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the optimal time to receive the flu vaccine is during the months of September and October. Even still, if you have yet to receive your flu vaccination it's not too late, and many healthcare providers are urging patients to do so as it is the most effective way to keep them and their loved ones safe.
Hamilton Network’s Nicole Mangett, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, provided her professional insight concerning some key issues surrounding the flu and the vaccine, and the efforts the organization has taken to educate its patients on the importance of staying healthy this flu season.
“Ensuring widespread access to flu vaccinations is a primary focus for Hamilton this fall and we are committed to reaching the public in a convenient manner, said Mangett. “Our approach involves bringing vaccinations directly to the community through local events and collaborating with community partners. This strategy allows us to vaccinate attendees on-site.”
Promotional flier. (Courtesy photo | hamiltonchn.org)
On average, 30 million people catch the contagious and potentially deadly flu virus each year. Receiving a flu shot significantly reduces the risks of developing life-threatening side effects and complications that the flu virus can cause. Some examples include pneumonia which is the most common secondary health issue caused by the flu virus. In addition, influenza also worsens other health issues such as heart inflammation, congestive heart failure, sinus and ear infections, and asthma.
When touching on some of the roadblocks that individuals may face when it comes to receiving the flu vaccine, Mangett explained that there are many barriers that may keep individuals from receiving the flu vaccination such as incorrect information.
“We see a lot of misinformation these days and if people do not go to credible sources for their information, they will often be misinformed,” said Mangett. “Your best bet is for your medical provider to explain the benefits of getting a flu shot. He or she knows your health history and understands your risks.”
She also noted that other barriers such as lack of insurance, scheduling conflicts, and lack of access play a part in individuals not receiving their flu shots. To overcome these challenges, Hamilton actively works to break down barriers by welcoming uninsured patients on a sliding fee scale.
“Our clinic doors are open to everyone, ensuring accessibility for anyone seeking vaccination during wellness visits,” says Mangett. “Our aim is to emphasize the significance of flu vaccination through proactive communication leading up to and during the flu season.”
To learn more about Hamilton Community Health Network and schedule an appointment for a flu vaccination, visit hamiltonchn.org or call (810) 406-4246.
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