With flu season in full swing, many people are getting their flu shots a little later than usual.
Some pharmacies have run out of vaccines, including the CVS on 45th and Kickapoo Streets.
The Walgreen’s off of I-40 on North Kickapoo Street has vaccines left, and the Walgreen’s on Harrison Street has vaccines only for those over 65 years old.
Additionally the Pottawatomie County Department of Health has vaccines available as well, Administrator Tina Johnson, R.N. said.
Johnson recommended calling to make sure the appropriate vaccine is available.
“As always, the main thing is if you’re sick, stay home,” she said.
Shawnee Public Schools has not seen as many cases as expected, School Health Coordinator Susie Killingsworth, R.N. said.
“Our absence rate so far is pretty good,” Killingsworth said.
The rate varies between schools, but remains steady between 2 and 5 percent, she said.
“I really expected to see more of this by now,” Killingsworth said.
Schools are required to send a student home if they have a temperature of 100.0 or more, Killingsworth said. She encouraged parents to keep their children home if they are running abnormally high temperatures or aren’t feeling well.
Parents should keep children home until they have been fever-free without medication for 24 hours, she added.
“That can mean up to seven days,” Killingsworth said.
Additionally Integris Seminole Hospital reported having limited quantities of the flu vaccine available.
Sarah Walter, marketing director, said no employees have been diagnosed with the flu. She said cases through the emergency room and those admitted seemed to be worse and have since tapered off.
St Anthony Shawnee Hospital is noticing a similar trend with a decreasing number of flu cases presenting in the emergency room and in admitted patients.
“We are seeing what appears to be a decrease in the number of positive flu tests this week,” Vicki Milliken, director of infection prevention, said.
St Anthony Shawnee Hospital is requesting visitors who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, runny nose, congestions, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea to stay home to avoid making patients sick.
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Hospital officials are also requesting children under the age of five not to visit patients either.
The hospital offers these tips to avoid spreading illness:
• Wash your hands frequently using warm water and soap, scrubbing all surfaces for about 15-20 seconds. Some flu viruses can live up to two hours on surfaces such as desks, phones and doorknobs. When soap and water are not available, hand sanitizers containing 60- 90% ethyl alcohol or isopropanol may be used.
• Avoid touching your face, unless you have clean hands. The eyes, nose and mouth are entry ports for flu viruses.
• Cover your mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing and sneezing. Dispose of tissues and wash your hands immediately. Better yet, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
• Avoid sharing objects (cups, utensils, etc.). Wipe down shared equipment such as phones and keyboards with disinfectant wipes.
• Get enough sleep and manage your stress. Lack of sleep and high levels of stress can reduce immune functioning, thus lowering the body’s ability to fend off colds and flu.
• Drink more water. You may not feel as thirsty during fall and winter, but it’s important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated. Consume at least 8 glasses a day.
• Maintain a moderate exercise program 3-4 days a week. It will strengthen the immune system and increase the body’s natural ability to fight infection.
• Eat healthfully. Remember to eat the recommended 5-9 servings per day of fruits and vegetables.
• Finally, listen to your body. Stay home if you have a fever and are coughing. You will feel better, recover faster if you rest and reduce the risk of infecting others.