If summer's over, it must be flu season ...

NORWICH – With summer sadly retreating into the distance, fall has crept upon us bringing the changing color of the leaves, long-sleeved shirts and, unfortunately, flu season. Luckily, the Chenango County Department of Public Health is ready for action and suggests a few ways to keep yourself healthy in the coming months.

“Be Wise: Immunize for Good Health” is their slogan this year, but according to Public Heath Director Marcus Flindt, the message is more than just a catchy rhyme.

“Every year there are people who don’t want to get the shot,” he said. “But it’s been proven to be the top way to prevent the disease ... and it’s just not fair to people around you to neglect it.”

He also attributed the low numbers of people in the past to the vaccine’s lack of availability. Just four years ago, the only places anyone could go to get immunized were their personal physicians, the hospital and the Public Health office, he said.

However, a law passed in December of 2008 has made it possible for pharmacists to undergo training to administer the shot. According to Dr. Heather Ferrarese, RPH, of Bartle’s Pharmacy in Oxford, the class consists of 12 hours of home study and eight hours of a live class that teaches injection techniques and etiquette, at the end of which each pharmacist receives their certification.

The certification allows them to provide injections to anyone between the ages of 18-49 and most forms of insurance is accepted. Ferrarese said that as the trend has become more popular, more insurance companies have offered coverage.

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