ELKHART — Flu season is nothing to sneeze at.
That’s why the Elkhart County Health Department is stepping up its efforts to urge more people to get a vaccination this fall. The local health department received a $50,000 grant from the Indiana State Department of Health that will be used to promote flu shots this season.
“We want to encourage people to get their flu shots and vaccines even while it’s still nice out,” said John Hulewicz, manager of the county health department’s education division. “Folks don’t think about that sometimes, but flu season starts now.”
Health officials hope to spread the word about flu vaccination by partnering with local radio stations and newspapers, including The Elkhart Truth. Hulewicz said the health department is working closely with healthcare providers and physicians to encourage them to remind their patients about the flu vaccine.
The health department has also expanded its efforts online. The department launched a new website — www.beatthebug.info — that features information about flu symptoms, recent news articles about flu season and where vaccines are available locally. Community health nurses created a Facebook page that also has information about flu trends.
The health department is developing a short online survey that will be available via laptops at some area clinics to gauge the community’s response to the new marketing campaign.
Flu shots are available for anyone six months and older at doctors’ offices and some pharmacies. The health department also offers vaccinations for children by appointment only.