Get shots now

By SUSAN LYNN
Register Reporter

Doctors are suggesting people get seasonal flu shots now as opposed to later this fall because of the increased risk of a widespread outbreak, said Dr. Brian Wolfe of The Iola Family Physicians.
When H1N1 immunizations become available, five groups of people should get those as well, Wolfe said.
Those include:
* Pregnant women;
* Those six months to 24 years;
* Caregivers and parents of infants younger than 6 months;
* Healthcare workers, and
* Those older than 24 with health problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and asthmatics.
“The goal is to create a ‘herd immunity,’ where if everyone who comes in contact with someone vulnerable is already immunized, then that person is protected from contracting the flu,” Wolfe said.
All school children should be vaccinated for the flu this year, Wolfe said. “That way they will not be taking it home to their parents or siblings or have it spread through the schools.”
The H1N1 strain is partial to the young. The average age of victims is 16; about 80 percent of H1N1 cases hit those less than 35. “Elders are not statistically a group to contract this kind of flu,” Wolfe said.
As of last week, only one death in Kansas has resulted from the H1N1 virus; 23 have been admitted to hospital.
No cases of swine flu have yet to be reported in Allen County.