Flu season arrives; health officials say vaccinations important

MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - The flu shot is the best way to prevent you and your family from getting the virus, a local health official said on Tuesday.

The flu is a contagious respiratory disease that can cause severe complications, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months or older get a flu vaccine annually by the end of October.

The flu can cause severe complications for children, pregnant women, adults 65 or older and people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or and heart or lung disease.

"Many people believe that the flu shot causes the flu, it does not and it will prevent the severity of the disease," said Beth Casto, director of nursing at the Marietta-Belpre Health Department. "So it will prevent you from having complications such as hospitalization, missing work and even can cause death."

The Marietta-Belpre Health Department is offering several types of flu vaccinations until the end of October, including a nasal flu vaccine for children; a vaccine for anyone 65 or older; a vaccine for anyone up 65; and a vaccine for those who are allergic to eggs

Casto said the body's immunity decreases over time, so it is important to get the shot every year.

The Marietta-Belpre Health Department accepts Medicaid, Medicare and private insurances. There is a $25 co-pay for those who do not have insurance. However, Casto, said no one will be turned away if they can not afford a vaccine.

The Marietta-Belpre Health Department flu-shot schedule is as follows:

- Marietta location: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Mondays and Tuesdays

- Belpre location: 8 a.m. - noon every other Wednesday

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