By Katie Burke, IIIC volunteer

The next free health screening at the IIIC will be held on Monday, November 2 from 3-6 pm at our offices at 100 Franklin St., LL-1 Boston, MA 02110.

As the cold weather begins to descend on the northeast, Bostonians have the usual set of gripes to look forward to: snow, ice, and of course, flu season! While inclement weather is a given, the effects of the flu can be minimized with an annual vaccination.

The IrishInternational ImmigrantCenter, in partnership with Cathedral Cares Ministries, has expanded its health screening to include flu shots for the community during the fall and winter months. IIIC’s first flu clinic of the season took place on September 26. Through funding from the Boston Public Health Commission and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Cathedral Cares Ministries is equipped with the vaccination and medical supplies necessary to run a comprehensive flu clinic, like the one at IIIC.

In addition to the traditional flu shot, a nasal spray flu vaccination is also now available. This version has proved to be a popular choice among children, who shy away from needles but “have a high risk of spreading and succumbing to the flu,” says Lynn Finn, RN-MS, Parish Nurse for the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Cathedral Cares Ministries Program Coordinator. Because the nasal spray is a live virus, it may only be administered to individuals between two and 49 years old. For those who fall outside this age range, the standard flu shot is available.

Lynn has extensive experience running community flu clinics like the one at the IIIC. She began giving out flu shots at St. Anthony’s Shrine 10 years ago and has now been with Cathedral Cares Ministries for 5 years, where she coordinates a group of volunteer nurses and medical practitioners to assist with health screenings and flu clinics.

Danielle Owen, IIIC Director of Wellness and Education says:

“IIIC relies on volunteers who come from Cathedral Cares and C.A.R.E. (Cumannn Airígh Rúnchara na hEireann or Association of Irish Caregivers and Confidants) and are extremely valuable to the success of the operation.”

Finn adds that, “Community health is a team discipline. You tend to consult with your colleagues more than in other practices.”

When asked about the medical volunteers she works with, she says, “we are blessed, we really are.”

The next IIIC health screening will be held on Monday, November 2 from 3 – 6 pm. In addition to flu vaccinations, cholesterol, blood pressure and sugar screenings will also be offered as well as information about accessing health care and insurance. All services are free, open, and confidential, and no insurance is needed to attend. For more information about free health screenings, please call Kielan at 617-42-7654.