The Riley County Health Department put on their eighth-annual Okt-FLU-ber Fest in Pottorf Hall in CiCo Park Thursday afternoon.
Put on in conjunction with a variety of other groups such as the K-State Masters of Public Health program and the College of Veterinary Medicine, the event served as an opportunity for people of all ages to receive flu vaccines and learn about flu prevention for both people and pets.
On a day when grants from the Memorial Hospital Foundation and the state government enabled those who either don’t have health insurance or aren’t fully insured to still receive vaccines, Jennifer Green, the administrator of the Riley County Health Department, said those in attendance weren’t the only ones benefiting from the immunizations.
“The more people that get their flu shot, the better protected we are as a community,” Green said. “Especially for those that are not able to get their flu shot. Those babies that are under the age of six months. When everybody gets a flu shot, it protects those that are not able to get a flu shot.”
Kids who received vaccines were also able to play games, eat treats, get their faces painted and pick out a pumpkin to take home.
“I think it’s great, honestly,” Steve Schurle, a father attendance with his wife and two sons said. “It brings everybody together and shows that the county is wanting everybody to be healthy.”
In addition to receiving tips about preventing the spread of diseases among people, such as coughing and sneezing into one’s arm or staying home from work when ill, those in attendance also received tips about how to keep their pets from getting sick.
Kate KuKanich, an associate professor of internal medicine in K-State’s clinical sciences department, said that while canine influenza in Kansas is not common, it is still a good idea to use caution when it comes to younger animals.
“The most important important things are to keep our young animals away from other animals until they’re fully vaccinated so that they’re protected,” KuKanich said. “And then if we do see any signs of illness in them, we want to keep them away from other animals so that they’re not spreading any germs to other animals and then of course seeking veterinary care if they are sick.”
While Jennifer Green recommends people get flu vaccines by October, this event was not the last chance to do so.
A calendar of future flu clinics, along with information on scheduled and walk-in vaccine appointments through the health department, can be found at rileycountyks.gov.
The Riley County Health Department’s phone number is 785-776-4779.