SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Autumn has arrived and the time has come for local health departments to gear up for this year’s flu season. This time, the H1N1 swine flu is not the only strain that is a major concern.
Kathy Forzley, Manager and Health Officer of the Oakland County Health Division, says this season’s flu vaccine is formulated to take on a trio of influenza strains.
“In this flu shot, there are three strains,” Forzley told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Pat Sweeting. “One of them being the 2009 H1N1 and then there’s two new strains and one of them that we saw (was) the Wisconsin strain. We saw a little bit of that last year so we’re expecting (that) we might see it again this year. And the other one was seen in the Southern Hemisphere and actually there’s been a considerable heavy number of cases in Australia and that will be incorporated into this shot this year.”
Last month in Wisconsin, health officials reported two cases of people infected with a new strain of swine flu. There were also heavy reports coming from Australia about the deadly H3N2 flu strain activity being widespread across the country.
In Oakland County, flu vaccinations are currently available at the Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield locations. Forzley reminds the public who should be immunized against influenza.
“Everyone over six months should get the flu shot,” Forzley said. “The elderly, the very young and the immune compromised are the ones that have potentially the greatest risk for life threatening symptoms or illness. Even though you might not fall in that category, you should still get your flu shot because you’re not only protecting yourself. You’re protecting the people around you.”
Flu symptoms to watch for are fever, aches and loss of appetite.