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Free Swampscott Flu Shots Still Available

This year's flu is stronger and lasts longer, health officials say. Shots are still available for residents on Wednesday mornings at Town Hall.

 

This season's flu strain hit earlier and is lasting longer.

Not only that but it appears to be more prevalent and more intense.

Swampscott Health Director Jeff Vaughan thinks these factors may explain why more people have come to Town Hall for flu shots this year. More than 300, so far — which tops the number of shots administered all of last year.

In addition, more people are coming in later for shots, he said.

The health director thinks this is due to the strength of this season's flu.

If you haven't gotten a flu shot, it's not too late, said the health director, who got his shot in November.

The Health Department — its office is on the second floor 2 at Town Hall — will continue to administer the shots for free on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. until noon.

The town will give the shots until its vaccine runs out. It had 60 to 65 doses as of noon Wednesday.

The shot is free but the office asks residents with health insurance to bring in the information.

The health director said he absolutely recommends that those who have not received a shot get one.

Here are some other local places that offer the vaccine (besides your own doctor):

The Red Cross said it has been a more active flu season. 

There have been 18 flu-related deaths in Massachusetts this season, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, as reported by WCVB, Channel 5.

Furthermore, the news report said the Infectious Disease Bureau for the Boston Health Department has a 10-time increase in reported cases in Boston than for all of last season. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said flu outbreaks are high for this time of the season, with "widespread activity" in Massachusetts.

How do you prevent the flu?

According to the CDC, in addition to getting the vaccine, you can:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you’re sick. 
  • How do you know if you have the virus?

    Symptoms include: high fever, severe body aches, headache, being extremely tired, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea (which is more common in children).

    When should you call the doctor?

    According to the Red Cross, if you think you have the flu, your doctor should be consulted immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • Fast breathing, trouble breathing or bluish skin color.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen (adults).
  • Confusion or sudden dizziness.
  • Not drinking enough fluids, not being able to eat, or severe or persistent vomiting.
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
  • Not waking up, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held or not interacting (children).
  • Fever with a rash (children).
  • No tears when crying or significantly fewer wet diapers than normal (children).
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