"Our main thrust in getting ready for winter is flu shots," says Jana Carlson-Kettering, public information officer for the Salt Lake City-County Health Department. Especially considered to be at risk are those over age 65 and children and adults with long-term illnesses or who are less able to fight infections.
The department is offering flu and pneumonia shots (for $7 and $9 respectively, or billing for those with Medicare cards) at four locations through October. These are the Salt Lake City Public Health Center, 610 S. 200 East (call 534-4568); the South Main Public Health Center, 3195 S. Main (483-5455); the Copperview Public Health Center, 8446 S. Harrison (240 West), Midvale (255-7114); and the Ellis R. Shipp Public Health Center, 4535 S. 5600 West (967-4443). For more information call 534-4693.While the centers have been seeing a lot of people, they've not been as busy as in years past so far in the campaign, says Kristy Cottrell, the department's influenza coordinator. While the flu season doesn't usually begin in earnest until early December, "it's best to have the shots four to six weeks ahead."
The end of summer, the shortness of winter days, the approach of Christmas and . . . ARRGGG! - the wintertime blues seem to set in.
A few down days are not abnormal at this time of year, says Gene Davis of Valley Mental Health. "The extra stress, you get up when it's dark and you get home when it's dark, and that tends, especially if you work in a home or office where you don't get a lot of light," to promote mixed feelings and the blues, he says.
The best medicine for many people is to get outside, to enjoy what winter has to offer, to visit friends and family - to exercise. "Exercise is a great key to lowering stress," Davis says.
A Valley Mental Health brochure notes, "It is important to monitor your own well-being. We all experience mixed feelings. . . . It is also possible to have true depression with unrelenting sadness, disturbance of sleep, change in appetite and the inability to function. . . . what you experience is true depression or a seasonal mood disorder" - which is related to winter's decrease in sunlight - "then professional help should be sought."