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Getting vaccinated: Jessica Metzger, RN, models an immunization.

It’s that time of year again. . . flu season.  The Minnesota Department of Health recommends, for best protection, to get your flu vaccine in early fall before flu season starts. However, you can still get the vaccine anytime during flu season which is typically October through April.

Jessica Metzger, a public health nurse with Otter Tail County Public Health, answers some common questions she receives about the flu vaccine and the health benefits of getting routine immunizations:

Q:  What is influenza, mostly known as the flu?

A:  The flu is a respiratory disease caused by a virus that attacks the nose, throat, and lungs.

Q: What is the purpose of the flu vaccine?

A: The flu vaccine contains inactive particles of the flu. When introduced into the body, the body develops an immune response to those particles to fight them off in the future.

Q: Who should get the flu vaccine?

A: Everyone ages 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine unless they have been told they should not by a medical provider.

Q: What are the health benefits of getting the flu vaccine?

A: It is important to get vaccines as recommended so you can protect yourself from the disease, but also protect those around you. Additionally, people who get the flu vaccine on a regular basis are less likely to get severe symptoms from the disease, should they happen to catch it.

Q: Where can people get the flu vaccine in Otter Tail County?

A: The common places to get routine vaccines are your primary medical provider’s office, Otter Tail County Public Health, and your local pharmacies.  Also look for letters coming home from your student.  Otter Tail County will be visiting local school districts starting in November.

For a list of Otter Tail County locations visit the website: ottertailcountymn.us and for more information about influenza and the flu vaccine please visit the MN Department of Health’s website: health.state.mn.us/diseases/flu/basics/flufacts.html.

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