The annual Putnam County Health Fair is set for Sept. 29 at the Putnam County Fairgrounds Community Building from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The annual event draws a large crowd of senior citizens every year. There will be entertainment, barbeque, door prizes, flu shots and plenty of information available.
Flu and pneumonia shots will be provided by the Visiting Nurse Service. Individuals with Medicare Part B as their primary insurance must bring their card to get a shot at no cost. For others, the cost is $25 for flu shots and $40 for pneumonia shots.
Booth spots for health-related vendors are available for $150 and $200 sponsorships. Electricity, one table and two chairs are included. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved vaccines for the 2009-10 flu season. These are designed to protect against strains of flu virus expected to be in circulation this fall and winter.
Influenza is a viral infection that sickens millions of people each year and can cause serious complications, especially in children and older adults.
Fortunately, the flu vaccine -- available in the form of a flu shot or a nasal spray -- offers protection against the flu.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when the match between flu vaccine and the circulating strains of the virus is close, a flu shot is between 70 and 90 percent effective in warding off the illness in healthy people under the age of 65.
For older adults who don't live in nursing homes and for people with chronic medical conditions, the vaccine is 30 to 70 percent effective in preventing hospitalization for flu or pneumonia.
Among nursing home residents, a flu shot is 50 to 60 percent effective in preventing hospitalization and pneumonia and 80 percent effective in preventing death from influenza.
In other words, people who get a flu shot can still get the flu, but they may get a much less severe form of the illness and they have a decreased risk of flu-related complications -- especially pneumonia, heart attack, stroke and death, all things for which older adults are especially vulnerable.
For more information about flu shots, contact your physician. For information about the 2009 Putnam County Senior Health Fair, contact Kyle Hutchison at the Putnam County Senior Center at 653-8606.