HEALTH DEPARTMENT: Free Flu Clinics Launch Oct. 5

An registered nurse from the Medical Reserve Corps inoculates an appreciative Westford resident. PHOTO BY NANCY BURNS

A registered nurse from the Medical Reserve Corps inoculates a Westford resident. PHOTO BY NANCY BURNS

 

Suddenly, it’s that time of year again.

The Westford Health Department is kicking off a series of free flu clinics on Friday, Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to noon at the J.V. Fletcher Library. The clinics are open to all Westford residents.

A second clinic for seniors age 65 and older and those with chronic conditions will be held at the Franco-American Club on Oct. 11 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Medical Reserve Corps volunteers prepare for speedy processing of forms in a clinic at Westford’s Franco-American Club. PHOTO BY NANCY BURNS

Medical Reserve Corps volunteers prepare for speedy processing of forms in a clinic at Westford’s Franco-American Club. PHOTO BY NANCY BURNS

Details about each of the town’s seasonal flu clinics are posted on the town’s web site. CLICK HERE.

“The best defense we have against the flu is the annual inoculation,” said Gail Johnson, R.N., Westford’s public health nurse. Johnson runs the clinics.

A Westford resident who is also a Medical Reserve Corps volunteer welcomes a fellow resident to a flu clinic at the library. PHOTO BY NANCY BURNS

A Westford resident who is also a Medical Reserve Corps volunteer welcomes a fellow resident to a flu clinic at the J.V. Fletcher Library. PHOTO BY NANCY BURNS

 

The flu can be serious and even fatal. Health experts say it takes about two weeks after vaccination for protection to develop, which lasts for about a year. Flu viruses mutate regularly, so it’s necessary to be inoculated against the strains that are most prevalent for the coming year.

One aspect that never changes throughout the 20 years since the town launched the clinics is the warm welcome that visitors receive from Johnson and her nursing students from Middlesex Community College. Johnson will also be supported by a large contingent of volunteers from the Upper Merrimack Valley Medical Reserve Corps.

The local MRC unit is based at the Westford Health Department. Its most recent activities included multiple responses to the nearby gas explosions, as well as teaching American Heart Association classes in first aid, CPR [cardio-pulmonary resuscitation]/AED [automated external defibrillator], and basic life support for healthcare providers.

MRC volunteers soon will be supporting seasonal flu clinics throughout the Upper Merrimack Valley. Members will help with registration and clinic flow, provide medical screening, and inoculate residents. Visit the website, to learn more about the local MRC.

Westford residents line up for registration in a seasonal flu clinic at the Fletcher Library. PHOTO BY NANCY BURNS

Westford residents line up for registration in a seasonal flu clinic at the J.V. Fletcher Library. PHOTO BY NANCY BURNS