YUMA, AZ - We
live in a community with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country
where not everyone has health care.
We wanted to know with this year's
flu season being one of the worst in over a decade, what are local health
officials doing for those who can't' afford to pay for a flu shot.
We spoke to Leighann Howell,
Supervising Nurse at the Yuma County Health Department.
She tells KSWT News 13 because
of this year's dangerous and deadly flu bug, no one, including those who can't
afford it, will be turned away from getting a flu shot.
"I don't want her to get
sick and end up in the hospital," said Esmeralda Delgado, a mother of an
8-year old girl. Delgado is not taking any chances. Monday she took her
daughter to the Yuma Health Clinic so the two of them could get their flu
year's flu virus has already claimed the lives of 20 children across the nation.
"We had been sick and they
told us not to get it while you're sick if you have a fever or cold
symptoms," said Delgado.
But now with the flu bug being
so widespread, Howell says everyone who is starting to suffer even mild
flu-like symptoms should still get the flu shot. These symptoms include a
slight fever, coughing, and achy bones.
"The flu vaccine has three
different strains in it and unless you've actually tested positive with a
positive test for influenza you may or may not actually have influenza,"
Right now, the Yuma County
Health Department charges $25 for adults 19 and older and $10 for people 18 and
KSWT News 13 asked Howell what
happens to patients who can't afford to pay for the vaccine.
"The County Health
Department does not refuse service for inability to pay," she said.
Again, Howell says if you can't
afford to pay for your flu shot you will not be turned away.
But, Howell does say that if
you're running a fever you should stay home for at least 24 hours so you won't
spread the virus to others.
"The numbers are rising
earlier than they have in a couple previous years before, but they're still
within normal limits for our flu season," she said.
So far, 22 cases of the flu have
been reported in Yuma County. Delgado does not want her and her daughter to add
to this overall number. "They say you could still get sick but it's not
going to be as strong as if you don't get the flu shot so it's safer to be safe
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