ALERT: NCHD Offices Closed Dec. 24 & 25 for Christmas READ MORE

North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Flu Vaccines Now Available at All NCHD County Health Departments

SHARE

NCHD encourages all residents to visit their local county health department to get their annual flu shot. All 13 county health departments under NCHD are now offering the vaccine to residents who wish to protect themselves and their families this upcoming flu season.

“There’s a common misconception that people can get the flu from getting vaccinated against the flu, but that’s false,” said District Immunization Coordinator Judy McChargue. “The vaccine is made from inactive viruses which are not infectious. Getting a regular, annual influenza vaccine is the number one way to prevent catching the flu.”

Annual influenza vaccination is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for everyone aged six months or older. Those over the age of 65 are recommended to get a “high-dose” vaccine to increase immune system response to the virus. The body can take around two weeks to build up immunity after receiving a flu shot, so it is better to get vaccinated before flu season begins. Each year, flu causes a number of preventable deaths – vaccination can protect you from that risk.

While seasonal influenza can affect people throughout the year, flu activity is highest during fall and winter. The CDC reports flu season begins in October and can last through May, peaking between December and February.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that affects the throat, nose and lungs. The virus is spread mainly by infected people when they sneeze, cough or talk, creating droplets containing the virus which can be inhaled by nearby people. If the droplets containing the virus land on a surface, the virus can spread when a person touches the surface, then touches their mouth, nose or eyes.

Once the flu virus has entered an unvaccinated person’s body, it may take one to four days before that person shows symptoms. Common symptoms of the flu include cough, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, fever, headaches and body aches. Some people with the flu may experience vomiting and diarrhea, but these symptoms are more common in children than adults. People over 65 years old, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems have the risk of developing flu-related complications including sinus or ear infections, dehydration, bacterial pneumonia or a worsening of chronic medical conditions. Complications from flu may require hospitalization and sometimes lead to death.

If you experience flu symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. Flu can be treated with antiviral medication that can reduce the time you are sick, make your symptoms milder and prevent flu-related complications.

The best way to protect yourself from the flu is by getting an annual flu shot. In addition to vaccination, you can reduce the chance of spreading influenza by taking steps to prevent the spread of germs:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • If you begin to experience flu-like symptoms, stay home for 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities.
  • Always cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze and throw away used tissues immediately.
  • Keep your hands clean by washing with soap and warm water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Do not touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
  • Regularly disinfect surfaces and objects (countertops, children’s toys) that may be contaminated with germs.

“There are a lot of steps you can take to fight germs, but your best defense against the flu will always be getting a flu shot,” said McChargue. “Vaccination helps protect the individual, the family and the community from the flu, and we want to protect as many people as possible.”

Each of NCHD’s 13 county health departments are offering flu shots for $25 each while supplies last. Each health department accepts cash, credit and debit cards and a variety of insurance plans. For more information on accepted insurance plans and service fees, visit NCHD52.org/cost.

For more information on seasonal influenza, visit CDC.gov/Flu.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to receive news, emergency messages and health information!

Comments are closed.