SAN DIEGO–Flu season is here and Palomar Health is prepared to vaccinate more than 3,500 North County residents through its annual community flu shot program. Clinics are being held at dozens of locations throughout the hospital district’s service area, now through January 16, 2015. Palomar Health nurses are providing the influenza vaccine by injection to adults and children 9 years of age and older.

“The best way to avoid becoming infected with the virus is to get an annual vaccination,” said Luanne Arangio-Law, R.N., M.Ed., Palomar Health community health nurse supervisor. “Always wash your hands thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, because those are entry points for germs.”

The 2014 vaccine protects against the seasonal flu virus. It takes up to two weeks for protection to develop following the vaccination and protection lasts six-months to one year.

Typical flu symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches. Unlike a cold, flu symptoms can come on suddenly, are more severe and can be life-threatening.

Who should get a flu shot?

While everyone who is 6 months old or older will benefit from the protection of a flu shot, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the following people be among the first to get vaccinated because they are at higher risk of flu complications:

* People who are 50 years or older

* People of any age who have heart disease, lung disease (such as asthma, emphysema or chronic bronchitis), diabetes, HIV, blood disorders, kidney disease or anyone with a weakened immune system

* Children age 6 months and older

* Pregnant women

* People who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities

* Health-care providers and caregivers who live with, or care for, anyone listed above

The cost to receive a flu shot through a Palomar Health community clinic is competitively priced at just $20 per person for children and adults under 65 years of age. Payment is accepted at each clinic by cash or check. Medicare is accepted for those who qualify. Seniors must bring their red, white and blue Medicare card. Palomar Health is unable to bill private insurance for vaccines given at community clinics. Palomar Health partners with the San Diego Department of Health to provide free flu shots for those in need.

Palomar Health flu clinics are available to the public this season in Escondido, San Marcos, Rancho Bernardo, Poway, Warner Springs, Julian, Valley Center, Ramona, Oceanside, La Jolla, Fallbrook and Temecula. More than 3,000 people received flu shots during the 2013 seasonal campaign.

A listing of scheduled clinics open to the public is featured below. Clinics, along with general information about the flu, are also available online at