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With a stronger-than-usual flu season in the county, state and nation, the Calvert County Health Department is telling residents it’s still not too late to get a flu vaccine.

Calvert County Health Officer Dr. Laurence Polsky said the health department will be conducting three vaccine clinics this week. Today and Friday, there will be a clinic from 8:30 to 10 a.m., and Thursday, a clinic will be from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The clinics will be at the Calvert County Health Department in Prince Frederick and cost $20, though they are free for those receiving Medicare.

Polsky said there have been 16 people admitted to Calvert Memorial Hospital from the flu so far this flu season. He said there have been 120 emergency room visits for flu-like symptoms, 88 of which have been confirmed cases.

He said about 90 percent of cases have been strain A, which Polsky said can be milder or more severe.

“We don’t always know right away when it comes to severity,” he said.

Polsky said about two-thirds of those vaccinated do not get the flu, but he warned it takes about two to three weeks for the vaccine to boost a person’s immune system.

“For next year, we really encourage people to think ahead and get vaccinated in October or November,” he said.

Benefits to being vaccinated now, Polsky said, are those who have yet to be exposed still have time to protect themselves. He said the county could also see an increase in strain B — the H1N1 virus, or “swine flu.”

Differentiating the flu from a common cold, Polsky said, involves recognizing certain symptoms such as a fever of 101 degrees or higher, severe muscle aches and feeling “very, very fatigued.”

He said with the flu, people are generally very ill for about three to four days, “and it could take about a week to get their strength back.”

Polsky said those in the highest risk groups when infected with the flu include children younger than 2 years old, people with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, people who are very obese and anyone 65 or older, even without an underlying condition.

In addition to getting the vaccine, Polsky recommended frequent handwashing and staying home from work or school should people exhibit symptoms.

Groups conduct Martin Luther King Jr. celebration

The 28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration will start at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at Mt. Olive United Methodist Church, 10 Fairground Road, Prince Frederick. Citizens of Southern Maryland and members of churches and congregations are invited to celebrate King’s life and legacy for free.

School, church and community groups and other youths who wish to display their talents in the “Youth and Young Adult Stage of Life” display must present their entries by 5 p.m.

The event is sponsored by Victoria Lodge No. 71 F&AM, PHA, and cosponsored by the Calvert County NAACP, Concerned Black Men of Calvert County, Concerned Black Women of Calvert County and the Community Mediation Center of Calvert County. For more information on the youth display, contact any public school principal, Joyce Freeland at 410-535-0413, Josephus Harris at 410-535-5558, Joseph Parran at 410-535-4365 or Brenda Wallace at 301-855-1939.

Forum to be conducted on women’s health

The Calvert County Commission for Women is playing host to a forum titled “Health Issues for Calvert Women and Girls” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Dream Weaver Events and Catering, 114 Solomons Island Road North, Prince Frederick. The featured guest will be Calvert County Health Officer Dr. Laurence Polsky. Because space is limited, reservations are required by Jan. 27.

To reserve a spot, email Chair@CalvertWomen.org.

Library to show fracking documentary

“Gasland,” a documentary film on gas extraction by the fracking method, will be presented by Food & Water Watch and the Sierra Club on Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Calvert Library Prince Frederick. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for refreshments, literature, letter writing and informative conversation. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a brief discussion. For more information about the event, contact ff725@yahoo.com or call 301-884-8027.

Huntingtown VFD seeks auxiliary members

The Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department is currently seeking persons who are interested in joining the membership of the auxiliary. The purpose of the auxiliary is to assist the Huntingtown VFD through fundraising efforts and during emergency responses. according to an email from the fire department. All members must be 18 and older and a resident of Calvert County. Applications can be picked up at the station, and those interested can contact Vice President Dale Bowen at dalegbowen@yahoo.com.

County announces closures next Monday

The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners announces the following office and facility closures for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday:

• All Calvert County Government offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 21, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

• The Calvert Pines, Southern Pines and North Beach senior centers will be closed Jan. 21. Meals on Wheels will be delivered to clients.

• All Calvert Library locations will be closed Jan. 21.

• There will be no public transportation services Jan. 21.

• All Solid Waste facilities will be open and operating on normal business hours Jan. 21.

The Calvert Marine Museum and the Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center will be open to the public. For more information, go to the Calvert County website at www.co.cal.md.us.



ldukes@somdnews.com