It’s not too late to

get flu vaccine

All across the nation, public health officials are urging people to get flu shots and encouraging providers to make a greater effort to increase the availability of the vaccine.

“Many families are expecting to travel this holiday season and people need to remember that germs travel, too,” says Dr. Charlene Graves, medical director of the immunization program at the Indiana State Department of Health.

Influenza is a contagious disease that spreads through coughing and sneezing. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year because of the flu and about 36,000 people die each year from its complications. People most at risk are 65 and older, young children, and people with chronic health problems such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.

“It is not too late to get your flu vaccine. We’re projecting that flu season will peak in February this year. Getting your flu shot now will allow your body time to build up enough antibodies to prevent getting the flu when the season reaches its peak,” Dr. Graves explains.

Besides getting a flu shot, people should always cough into arms or tissues instead of directly onto hands, wash hands often and well and make healthy choices such as eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

The Vigo County Health Department has plenty of vaccine available for the public, which can be obtained at the Communicable Disease Clinic at the Vigo County Annex from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Children under 18 can obtain a flu shot for free at the Well Child Clinic. Appointments for children can be made by calling the clinic at (812) 462-3446.

TH Family Y looking

to visit seniors

The Terre Haute Family Y is looking for homebound senior citizens who would like to be visited regularly by one of the Y’s friendly senior visitors.

Anyone with a family member, friend or neighbor who would welcome a new friend to visit once a week, and is homebound and elderly, can call Juanita at (812) 232-3358.

There is no cost to have a senior visitor stop by weekly. Senior visitors are screened carefully and trained by the Terre Haute Family Y.

The mission of the Senior Visiting Program of the Y is to lift the spirits of isolated, lonely, older persons while enriching the lives of the visitors.

Planned Parenthood offers emergency option

Following an FDA decision to make emergency contraception available without prescription, Planned Parenthood of Indiana began offering over-the-counter emergency contraception at most of its 35 Indiana health centers, including the one in Terre Haute, on Monday. All PPIN health centers will dispense either the over-the-counter product or prescription emergency contraception for immediate purchase.

The product is essentially a concentrated dose of the same hormones found in birth control pills and can be taken up to five days after unprotected intercourse. While emergency contraception previously has been available by prescription, the public has been somewhat confused about what the product is and how it works.

Emergency contraception does not terminate a pregnancy; it prevents a pregnancy from occurring, according to Planned Parenthood. Emergency contraception does not interfere with an established pregnancy or harm a fetus.

Officials emphasize that over-the-counter emergency contraception is designed to function as a backup for consumers to use in the event of a contraceptive problem. “Emergency contraception is the best recourse for contraceptive problems or unintended sex as a result of rape or incest,” said Liz Carroll, vice president of patient services for Planned Parenthood of Indiana.

Planned Parenthood, at 30 S. Third St., can be reached at (812) 238-2636.

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