Thousands of people nationally each year contract and become sick with influenza, and many, including children and the elderly, die as a result of the illness.
Wilson County is not immune.
The flu virus locally takes a toll each year and affects literally all ages, according to local health care professionals.
In an effort to help deter the flu locally, Immanuel Baptist Church plans to sponsor two communitywide flu prevention days Thursday with a second day to be scheduled in early November.
According to Immanuel Baptist Church Pastor John Hunn, the church, in conjunction with E and A Health Solutions, a Lebanon-based health care provider, will provide the public a chance to get flu vaccinations to help prevent a local flu outbreak.
“This is a community outreach project for our church,” Hunn said. “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 the vaccinations, shots for adults and a recommended spray mist for children, would 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 will be offered at Immanuel Baptist Church 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 615-444-5563.
Although not required, Hunn asked those who plan to come for vaccinations to call ahead to the church to aid in planning. He said a follow-up date would be set for vaccinations again in early November.
“We see this as an excellent opportunity for our community,” Hunn said. “We are 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.”
While the flu virus is generally regarded as a dangerous illness for the elderly, it is many times just as threatening to children, according to Chris Manus, E and A Solutions president.
According to information from the Centers for Disease Control, Manus said an average 20,000 children under age 5 are hospitalized each year because of influenza complications. He said during the 2012-13 influenza season, more than 150 flu-related pediatric deaths were reported.
Manus said the best way to protect children from the virus is to have them vaccinated, and he urged secondly for parents to be vaccinated as well.
Manus said the CDC recommends everyone 6 months or older get a 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, among others.
Besides certain health care initiatives, services provided by E and A include pre-employment screening, Department of Transportation 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.