“The Flu is coming! The Flu is coming!” is being shouted across the country and as we know from this summer’s outbreak at the Young Life youth camp at the Big Muddy, it can happen here in Wasco County. And it is serious. With the new kid on the block, the H1N1 strain of flu (formally known as the Swine Flu to the ire of the pork industry), there are concerns the flu could affect 20% to 40% of the work force during this flu season.

But the H1N1 seems no more dangerous than the seasonal flu and it is hard to tell the two apart since both have similar symptoms: fever, more painful body aches, dry cough, diarrhea and severe fatigue. But the steps you can take to reduce the risk of getting either one are the same.

The first step is to get your seasonal flu shot. Folks over 65 are at risk for complications from the seasonal flu and need to get the seasonal flu vaccine – sooner than later. Flu shots provided by MCMC’s Occupational Health will be available at the Center on Monday, October 5th and Tuesday October 6th from 11 – 2 PM (upstairs and no appointments are necessary). And the seasonal flu vaccines are already available at the local pharmacies.

For folks over 65, the H1N1 vaccine is a different story. Older adults over 64 are not encouraged to get the H1N1 vaccine unless they are a caregiver for those at risk. The theory is that seniors have developed immunity to the H1N1 because of their life experience. (You see there is an advantage to being older.) For those who are at greatest risk, children and young adults from six months to twenty five years old, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, the vaccine will be available through local clinics starting in October.

But the first line of defense is prevention: wash your hands often including before and after touching your face, cover your sneeze or cough but not with your hands (cough into your elbow). And if you use a tissue, throw it away immediately and then wash your hands or use an alcohol based hand cleaner.

As this flu season progresses, you can find the latest information at www.flu.oregon.gov.

Find yourself a partner and whether you want to lead or follow, enjoy the sounds at the Center’s Tuesday Night Music with the Jazz Generations playing tonight and The Dufur Boys playing next Tuesday the 29th starting at 7:00 PM. But there’s more! There are free family dances at the Civic on the next two Thursdays from 7 to 9 PM. And this coming Sunday is the Center’s turn to host the Jammers – picking and singing from 2 – 5 pm.

The Next Chapter Lecture Series at 11:00 on Tuesday the 29th will be “What everyone should know about Mammograms” plus an update on MCMC’s new Digital Mammography which has been a tremendous addition to the community. The speaker will be long time MCMC Mammography Technician, Debra Myers.

The first correct response to last week’s “Remember When” question was from Don McKinney who identified Dan Fouts as the University of Oregon quarterback who in 1970 threw the winning pass in a three-touchdown rally at UCLA. And now back to the category” TV in the Fifties” for a free breakfast at the Center on October 17th. What was the top-rated TV show that two years after knocking “I Love Lucy” out of the number one spot was canceled because of scandals? Call the Center at 296-4788 with your answer or email it to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com

That’s it for another week. Until we meet again, cover your head when it rains, your hands when it’s cold, and your mouth when you cough.

“If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is put down the shovel”. The old farmer from Fossil

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