FORT SMITH (KFSM)—December 6-12 is National Flu Vaccination Week, which serves as a reminder to get an annual flu shot.
“With the flu being prevalent in the years past, it`s always pertinent for everybody to get a flu shot,” Dr. Justin Voris said.
Voris, a physician at SouthPointe Family Practice in Fort Smith, says it is important for anyone over six months of age to get vaccinated, especially pregnant women and the elderly. Those who have previously had a severe reaction to a flu shot and those with a severe egg allergy should not get vaccinated. Anyone with a moderate-to-severe illness, with or without a fever should wait until they have recovered.
“Anywhere you can get a flu shot would be through Sparks at the vaccination station, and that is located off of Dodson Avenue at the Sparks Plaza,” Dr. Voris said. “You can also see your family physician or any health care provider.”
Sparks Clinic’s Vaccination Station is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.- 4: 30 p.m. Medicare and insurance are accepted. Those without insurance will be charged $36 for the flu shot. Dr. Voris said it’s never too late in the year to get immunized.
“This year is poised to be a better strain, more in tune with the current strains that are active, that we are seeing sporadically,” he said.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, more than 300 positive influenza tests have been reported in the state since October. Experts say the best way to prevent getting the virus is by getting a vaccination each year.
Dr. Voris said the virus is a public safety issue and suggests talking to your doctor about any concerns.
“A lot of people tend to feel like hey, I`ll be okay. It might not be me, and they might not get sick, but they could always carry it and pass it on to somebody else, so it`s important for everyone to have a flu shot, I think,” he said.
The state has seen one death from the flu so far this season, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Oklahoma has had no deaths so far, but the state health department reports 22 flu-related hospitalizations since October.