Barton County Health Department Director Shelly Schneider was scheduled to speak at the Oct. 8 meeting of the Great Bend Noon Kiwanis, but had to cancel when a patient with the Ebola virus died in Texas. While Schneider sat in on a national preparedness teleconference with the White House and Centers for Disease Control, Melissa Hagerman, immunization nurse at the county health department, took her place at the Kiwanis meeting.
Schneider later told the Great Bend Tribune that she has confidence in the steps being taking to keep this country safe from Ebola, which is good news.
Hagerman’s message, however, hits closer to home. She had advice for virtually everyone in Barton County.
Get a flu shot.
Seriously. The chance of coming in contact with Ebola is remote, but influenza spreads every winter, in one form or another. This year’s flu strain is the same as last year. Each year, an average of 226,000 people are hospitalized due to influenza and between 3,000 and 49,000 people die of influenza and its complications.
Individuals should consult their health-care professionals and consider other vaccinations as well. There are recommendations for every age and health status. The CDC has new guidelines for pneumonia vaccinations for youths and adults. At age 60, anyone who had chicken pox as a child should consider being vaccinated for shingles. For children, the TDAP shots are life savers.
If you haven’t already done so, roll up your sleeves, central Kansas residents. The viruses are out there, but many diseases are preventable.
First positive case of COVID-19 confirmed in Barton County