SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Arkansas urges young-to-middle aged persons to receive flu vaccination

The Arkansas Department of Health is urging all persons between the ages of 25 and 50 to get vaccinated against this season's flu virus, as nearly half of the flu-associated deaths this year have been within that age group.

The most frequent strain this flu season is H1N1, which most severely affects persons that are young to middle aged and pregnant women. Younger, generally more healthy people are being more severely affected by the flu virus this season. Only 30 percent of the population of young-to-middle aged adults in Arkansas is vaccinated against the flu.

"We can't stress enough how critical it is for all individuals to get vaccinated --especially if you're in this age group," State Health Officer and Director of the Arkansas Department of Health Nate Smith said. "We know the flu vaccine isn't 100 percent effective, but it truly can mean the difference between a mild to moderate illness and death."

Mild flu symptoms include high fever, sore throat, headache, dry cough, runny nose, stuffy nose, extreme fatigue and muscle aches. Severe flu symptoms include sudden dizziness, chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Arkansas medical authorities ask that anyone with severe symptoms seek medical attention immediately.

Arkansas offers the flu immunization for free to citizens without health insurance.