Each year thousands nationally contract and become violently sick with influenza and many, including children and elderly victims, lose their lives as a result of the sickness.
Wilson County is no different.
The flu virus here takes a toll every year and affects literally all ages, according to local health care professionals.
In an effort to help deter the flu locally, Immanuel Baptist Church is sponsoring two communitywide Flu Prevention Days on Thursday, Oct. 24, and a second day to be scheduled for early November.
According to Immanuel Baptist Pastor John Hunn, the church in conjunction with E and A Health Solutions, a Lebanon-based health care provider, is providing an opportunity for the public to get flu vaccinations in an effort to help prevent an outbreak of the flu locally.
"This is a community outreach project for our church. We have an opportunity to serve our own congregation with this special health care event but we also would like to share this as well with the entire community," Hunn said.
He said the vaccinations, shots for adults and a recommended spray mist for children, will require no payment for Medicare recipients, except HealthSpring, or essentially for anyone who has health insurance. Those without insurance will be required to pay $20 for the vaccination.
Vaccinations are to be offered at Immanuel Baptist on the church's main campus at 214 Castle Heights Ave. The vaccinations will be offered from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. For directions or other information about the vaccinations, call 444-5563.
Although not required, Hunn requested that those who plan to come for vaccinations to call ahead to the church in order to help with planning for the event.
He said a follow-up date will be set for flu vaccinations in early November.
"We see this as an excellent opportunity for our community. We're so thankful we have been blessed with the science that provides this important lifesaving vaccine and we are hopeful our entire community will take advantage of this special offering," Hunn said.
While the flu virus is generally regarded a dangerous sickness for the elderly, it many times is just as threatening to children, said Chris Manus, E and A Solutions president.
According to data gathered from the Centers for Disease Control, Manus said an average of 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized each year because of influenza complications. He noted that during the 2012-2013influenza season more than 150 flu-related pediatric deaths were reported.
Manus said the best way to protect children from the virus is to get them vaccinated, and he urged secondly for parents to be vaccinated as well.
Manus said the CDC recommends everyone 6 months or older should get the flu vaccine.
E and A Health Solutions is a division of E and A Solutions, a locally owned company that serves a national network of high profile clients including local and state government entities, universities, transportation and logistics operators, and others.
Services provided by E and A besides certain health care initiatives include pre-employment screening, DOT drug screening, non-DOT drug screening, occupational physicals, background checks, drug free workplace training, clinical drug testing, DNA testing, medical review services, contract transportation, and other services related to many human resource or personnel areas.