The Knox County Health Department is preparing to keep everyone healthy this winter by getting them vaccinated against the flu.
Summit Medical Group said Wednesday that they'd already treated two people in East Tennessee who were suffering from the flu.
Flu shot clinics get started in Knox County Schools on Monday, September 26, and continue through the end of the year. See the full schedule here.
In previous years, KCHD was able to offer FluMist to students, but recent guidance from health experts show that the nasal spray is not as effective for this season, so the clinics will only offer the shots.
The summer isn't over, but the fall flu season is already creeping in.
"Honestly the earliest I’ve seen in my 21 year career in family medicine," said Summit Medical Group Executive Director Dr. Eric Penniman. He said this may be a sign of things to come later this winter.
"Some big health systems are encouraging patients to wait to get the flu shots, so that come February they have better immunity. But now that we're already seeing influenza cases, it would be really bad to wait and get the flu shot,” said Penniman.
Knox County Elementary students now have a few options when it comes to getting their flu shot.
The department has done away with the old flu mist spray. Middle and high school students can get the shot during school hours, but some elementary students can get the shot after school with a parent present.
Penniman says that move could make it easier to keep more children healthy this winter.
"if they're able to understand why they're getting the shot you're doing that to try and keep them well, so they understand the little bit of pain they're going through has good value,” said Penniman.
Each child has to have parental consent to receive the flu shot during the school vaccination clinics. You can download a permission form here or get one from your child's school.
Flu shots are recommended for anyone over 6 months of age, but it’s particularly important for those in high risk groups, such as pregnant women, adults over 65, young children and those with chronic conditions.
Getting a flu vaccine helps protect not only yourself, but also those around you because it decreases the risk of you spreading the illness to them.
Community Flu Vaccination Clinics
The health department has also scheduled several community flu vaccination clinics:
- Oct. 4 at Teague Clinic (405 Dante Rd.) from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 20 at KCHD main location (140 Dameron Ave.) from 3 to 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 22 at South-Doyle High School from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Oct. 25 at West Clinic (1028 Old Cedar Bluff Rd.) from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 29 at Gibbs High School from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Appointments are not required.
Click here for more information.
(© 2016 WBIR)