Knox County Health Department gearing up for flu season

Knox County Health Department gearing up for flu season

Posted:
The Knox County Health Department will have flu shots available by the end of September or beginning of October. The Knox County Health Department will have flu shots available by the end of September or beginning of October.
Even though the health department does not have flu shots available yet, other places do in Knoxville, including Walgreens. Even though the health department does not have flu shots available yet, other places do in Knoxville, including Walgreens.
"The earlier the people get it the more people will be protected whenever we actually have flu," said Knox County Health Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan. "The earlier the people get it the more people will be protected whenever we actually have flu," said Knox County Health Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The first cases of flu are being reported at Knox County doctor's offices.

So does your family need to worry about a bad flu season, and is it too early to get a flu shot?

According to Knox County Health Department officials, small amounts of the flu virus are always  going around, so it is not a big surprise that someone may have gotten the flu already.

Peak flu season does not start until November.     

The pharmacy at the health department received their first shipment of flu vaccine last week, but currently, it's not available for the public.

"We wait until we have enough not to turn people away," said KCHD director Dr. Martha Buchanan.  

Buchanan says so far, Knox County has not seen any cases of the flu, but sometimes it is hard to have exact numbers.

"We actually don't track flu cases," explained Buchanan. "It's not reportable to us, so doctors don't call and let us know they have a case of the flu."    

She says even though they do not keep track, people need to prepare for flu season by getting a flu shot.

"The earlier the people get it the more people will be protected whenever we actually have flu," said Buchanan.

Even though the health department does not have flu shots available yet, other places do in Knoxville, including Walgreens.

The Walgreens on Broadway got their flu vaccines three weeks ago. They are available there 24-hours a day.     

This year some places will be offering a new type of vaccine.

"The current vaccine has three strands of the flu it in and the new one has four," said Buchanan. She says the new strand just adds extra protection.

She says this new vaccine will not be available at the health department, but should be available at other locations that provide flu shots.

Buchanan says if the general public would be better off if more people got the flu shot.

"I recommend everyone who can get a flu shot get a flu shot," she said. "Everyone from the age of six months to whatever."

The Knox County Health Department will have flu shots available by the end of September or beginning of October.     

Officials say along with getting a flu shot, the best way to prevent the flu from spreading is to make sure to wash your hands and stay home if you are sick.     

The health department is also starting the FluMist program in Knox County schools in September.       

Parents should have received a consent form when their child started school, and will need to check to see when vaccines will be given at their child's particular school.

In the past eight years, the health department, on average, have vaccinated approximately 45% of the school aged population, which amounts to roughly 25,000 children.

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