Children and adults were given free flu shots Oct. 18 at a fire-prevention festival held in a parking lot at 9925 E. Baseline Road. It was co-sponsored by Bashas’ Supermarkets and the Mesa Fire and Medical Department.
A flu shot’s benefits outweigh any pain from the injection, Tinker Vandever, 10, a student at Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Mesa, said after his vaccination.
“Usually with the flu shot it kind of hurts but you have to stand tough – you just have to go with it. It doesn’t feel bad. Just go with the flu shot. You’ll be better in no time,” he said.
His sister, Tinisha, 14, a student at Dobson High School in Mesa, also was vaccinated against the flu at the event.
“Some people at school will get sick so it’s better to get the flu shot so you don’t get sick from all of the germs that they have,” she said.
Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications – such as pneumonia – as a result of the flu, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms, according to the CDC: Fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness). Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year, according to the CDC website.
More than 800 people were given free flu shots in Mesa the week before the Saturday event, Firefighter/Paramedic David Montemorra of the Mesa Fire and Medical Department said.
“We’ve been pretty successful in our clinics so far this year. We had one at Skyline (High School), we had one at Dobson (High School) this week. I would say this week alone we’ve seen – not including today – about 800 people,” he said.
He, Firefighter/Paramedic Royce Greenberg and Nadine Miller, R.N. and director of health services at Mesa Public Schools, worked at the flu-shot table, Mr. Montemorra said at the event.
Getting a flu shot is important, Mr. Montemorra said.
“So you don’t get sick with the influenza virus that’s going around. Typically we see it a little bit later in the year, but we have the vaccine now so we are providing it early for everyone. And then another caveat to that is this year with everything else going on in terms of illness – the Enterovirus, Ebola – most of those present with flu-like symptoms so if we can rule out one of them, i.e. the influenza, then we know that if you get sick that might not be the case,” he said.
The state’s first case of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) was in Maricopa County, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported Oct. 21. EV-D68 causes respiratory illness and the virus spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces. Symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, cough, body and muscle aches and often wheezing whether or not the child has asthma. Although fever can be present, many infected children do not develop a fever. Additional information about EV-D68 can be found on the CDC website.
“This first case of EV-D68 is in a child with a history of asthma who has recovered from the illness,” Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for the Disease Control Division at Maricopa County Department of Public Health, said in a press release. “What this first case tells us is that EV-D68 is present in our community. We know that this virus is prevented in the same as other respiratory viruses, like the flu. The take-home message is for parents to remind their kids about the simple ways to protect themselves and their classmates from getting sick,” Dr. Sunenshine said.
The best ways to prevent transmission of respiratory diseases such as EV-D68, according to the press release, are by: Washing hands often; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; covering your cough and sneeze with the inside of your elbow; staying home when you’re sick; and getting vaccinated. Although there is no vaccine for most respiratory viruses including EV-D68, everyone 6 months of age and older should receive influenza vaccine every year to protect themselves and others.
For more from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, visit the department website.
Find flu clinics in the area on Vaccine Finder.
In addition to flu shots, the 10 a.m.-1 p.m. fire-prevention fair Oct. 18 offered fire-extinguisher, CPR and automated external defibrillator demonstrations; education about home safety and smoke alarms; drowning-prevention education; senior safety information; and home safety information, according to a press release. It was held as part of Fire Prevention Month, according to the release.
Cody Hale of Mesa brought her two sons, 3-year-old Preston and 5-year-old Trent, to the fire-prevention fair so they could be familiar with fire-department trucks and personnel as their family members work for fire departments.
“I just wanted to let them see what goes on and learn stuff about fire prevention,” she said.
Ms. Hale learned about the event while shopping at Bashas’ and said it was good for community outreach.
“So everybody knows the fire department is part of the community and they learn valuable information about fire prevention,” she said.
Mesa resident Robert Stauss received a flu shot.
“We were going shopping and my wife saw they were giving flu shots; she already got a flu shot,” Mr. Stauss said of his wife, Michelle.
“Great idea, because otherwise I procrastinate and I don’t do it,” Mesa resident Jeri Wade said after receiving a flu shot.
The Mesa Fire and Medical Department holds flu-shot clinics throughout the city, Mr. Montemorra said.
“We pick areas throughout the city and this event today is being put on by our Fire and Life Safety Education Department, so we just partnered up with them to provide some vaccine to the east side of the town here,” he said.
Mesa resident Jacklyn Rublowitz liked that the flu shots were available at the fire-prevention fair.
“It keeps everybody aware of the importance of being vaccinated,” she said after receiving a flu shot. “There are so many different things going around nowadays that we have to be extra cautious.”