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Not too late to get pre-Games flu shot

SHARE Not too late to get pre-Games flu shot

Thousands of visitors, some from far-flung locales, are expected to arrive soon for the Olympic Winter Games. And their visits will coincide with what's traditionally the peak of the influenza season in Utah.

"It's not too late to get a flu shot," said Pam Davenport, spokeswoman for the Salt Lake Valley Health Department. "We still have flu vaccine available."

It takes about two weeks for a flu shot to become fully protective, said Karen Bell of Community Nursing Services. Even before that the vaccination provides some protection.

But people who want to avoid the potential spread of flu during the Olympics need to get their shots right away.

Some groups still have plenty of vaccine available, including local health departments and Community Nursing Services. Others are focusing their limited supply on people who are considered high-risk for complications of influenza.

Intermountain Health Care is currently vaccinating high-risk patients, including the elderly and those who have had organ transplants, said LDS Hospital spokesman Jess Gomez. Employees who didn't get shots earlier have been encouraged to get them, as well.

Influenza's not a fun illness. It tends to hit like a freight train. One minute you feel fine and the next you feel completely miserable. People confuse it with a cold, but that malady has a much slower buildup.

Influenza is a respiratory illness with symptoms that include fever, cough, sore throat, headache and fatigue. Children may experience gastrointestinal symptoms as well.

People at highest risk for complications include the elderly, those with compromised immune systems and people with diabetes.

Gomez suggests people who want a flu shot contact their physicians. You can also call 1-800-486-2186 to locate a flu shot near you.

E-MAIL: lois@desnews.com