As a long-time nurse, Donna Marbut knows the flu vaccine is especially important to the elderly and is gratified Cherry Village Benevolence reports 90 percent participation in its recent immunization campaign.
Marbut is director of nursing at the non-profit, long-term-care facility.
“In this age group, the flu can be extremely serious,” Marbut said. “Symptoms are worse for older folks and recovery time is much longer. It can even be fatal.”
All Cherry Village residents and employees have been offered the vaccine “so that we can prevent as many cases of the flu as possible,” Marbut said. “We encourage everyone, including Cherry Village visitors, to be vaccinated to protect our residents and employees from the virus.
“Everyone here was given an information sheet before the vaccine so they could make an educated decision about having the shot,” she added.
There are a few reasons why someone should not get a flu shot. They include life-threatening allergies to the vaccine or a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
“It is usually okay to get a flu shot if you are not feeling quite up to par,” Marbut noted. “However, you may be asked to delay the vaccine until you feel better.”
In addition to the elderly, the flu virus also is more dangerous for infants and young children, pregnant women and those with a weakened immune system. It can lead to pneumonia too.
Marbut is aware that some people say they contract the flu from the vaccination. While there is a chance of a mild reaction, the vaccine is not a live virus and cannot cause the flu.
“And even if you do get the flu sometime after the shot, the symptoms are usually much milder,” Marbut said.
Flu symptoms include fever and chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, and runny or stuff nose.
“If you can catch these symptoms early and ask a doctor for Tamiflu within the first 48 hours, chances are the symptoms won’t be as severe,” Marbut suggested.
The registered nurse also noted that the Centers for Disease Control strongly recommends flu shots for as many people as possible.
“Something as simple as a quick injection can prevent many problems down the road,” Marbut said. “For most of us, it is the best way to stay healthy during the flu season and it cuts down on absenteeism. We hope other businesses and agencies will suggest the vaccine to their employees.”
Cherry Village, 1401 Cherry Lane, is a non-profit entity managed by a local family.