Polk County Health Department will be holding nearly 50 community flu vaccination clinics beginning September 25 through November 2013. The annual “drive-thru flu clinic” will be held on Saturday, October 5 at the Polk County Health Department. The full schedule is available at www.polkcountyiowa.gov/health. Vaccinations are also available at the Polk County Health Department (1907 Carpenter Ave) M-F from 8-4:30 and Tues until 7pm on a walk-in basis.
Rick Kozin, Polk County Health Department Director said, “We know that getting vaccinated, staying home when you’re sick, and washing your hands are extremely effective at reducing the spread of the flu in our community. When a high percentage of the community has been vaccinated against a contagious disease like influenza it is very difficult for it to be spread from person to person.”
People who get influenza are also at greater risk for catching pneumonia. The elderly, children and people with chronic diseases are more likely to get sick, and to get sicker, in addition to being at a higher risk for developing pneumonia or other serious complications that can cause hospitalization or even death.
“Getting the flu is more than just a stuffy nose or sore throat. It can cause symptoms such as coughing, headaches and fatigue that can last for up two weeks. Most people will feel miserable for at least a few days and will then recover but for some, like the elderly and kids or people with chronic diseases, the flu can cause complications like pneumonia or hospitalization. At a minimum, the flu will cause you to miss several days of work or school.” said Mr. Kozin.
Since a higher percentage of children get the flu, and because of how easily they can
spread it to others, it is recommended that all children over the age of 6 months be vaccinated against flu. Older adults, and people with chronic health conditions (who are more likely to get sick and be sicker than other people) are encouraged to receive their shots sooner rather than later.
“You can have the flu and be contagious before symptoms arise so to best protect yourself as well as your grandma, and your children, you should all get a flu vaccination,” said Mr. Kozin.
Scientific advances in flu vaccinations have increased the options for flu vaccinations, ranging from painless to extra strength. Your doctor, a nurse or a pharmacist can help you decides which of the following types of vaccination is best for you:
· The trivalent shot that has been the standard flu shot to protect against three strains of flu and can be used by anyone age 6 months and older.
· New this year is the quadrivalent shot that protects against four strains of the flu and should be especially helpful for protecting children (note: this vaccination is NOT available at the Polk County Health Department clinics).
· The nasal spray, or FluMist, is a painless option that is popular with children and includes protection against four strains of flu. It should not be used by pregnant women or those with chronic health conditions because it contains live, weakened flu viruses.
· A high-dose vaccine, FluZone, that protects against three strains is used mainly for older adults to give them a quick boost in immune response and protection since this population is at higher risk for complications from the flu.
· The intradermal vaccine is a smaller needle that injects the vaccine into the skin rather than the muscle and is a good option to protect against three strains of the flu for those who are afraid of needles.
· FluBlok is a new vaccine made available this year and is made without eggs and is a good alternative for adults 18-49 with egg allergies (note: this vaccination is NOT available at the Polk County Health Department clinics).
To speed up the process at the flu clinics people can download the Consent Form from the Health Department Web Page (www.polkcountyiowa.gov/health) and bring the completed Consent Form to the clinic.
For updates or changes in the clinic schedule call the Polk County FluLine, 286-3609. Most major insurance plans are accepted. The cost for those without insurance is $20. Nobody will be turned away because of an inability to pay.