Health experts worried about flu spreading

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – The holidays are over, which means kids are back in school and colleges students are back in dorms. That close proximity is concerning to Virginia health experts now that the state is seeing widespread flu activity.

You could walk into just about any pharmacy right now and get a flu shot, but if you need to protect yourself on a budget, the health department might be your best bet.

"We are really interested in getting those people who would not be able to get the flu vaccine because they could not afford it," said Henrico Health District Nurse Manager Rebecca Parsio.

Rebecca Parsio says this year's flu season is starting to peak and will likely last through March, which is typical in Virginia. She says health experts have been monitoring cases as they come in, and flu is now widespread affecting folks across the board.

"It used to be that we just referred to the young and to the elderly as the high risk populations, but that's no longer the case. We recommend this vaccine for everyone and the higher coverage level in the community, the more likely it is that our most vulnerable will be protected," said Parsio.

According to the state health department, we've been seeing widespread flu activity in Virginia since right before Christmas. The numbers are constantly changing, but as of the last week in 2010, Central Virginia was seeing 2 percent flu activity, meaning that about 2 out of every 100 people being seen in local hospitals or urgent cares were showing up with flu-like symptoms.  Health experts say weigh the options, and get a vaccine.

"The two seconds that it takes for you to get the injection versus feeling miserable, and the flu really makes you sick," said Parsio.

There is a free clinic going on Friday in Henrico County. It is from 9 a.m. to 3 the East End Health Department location on Nine Mile Road. To find out about upcoming clinics near you, call your local health department. You can also find more information about flu activity by clicking here.

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