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 various locations throughout the hospital district’s service area now through January 4, 2014. Palomar Health nurses are providing the influenza vaccine by injection to persons 9 years of age and older.
“The best ways to avoid becoming infected with the virus is to get an annual vaccination, always wash hands thoroughly, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth which are entry points for germs,” says Luanne Arangio-Law, R.N., M.Ed., Palomar Health community health nurse supervisor. “The 2013 vaccine protects against the seasonal flu virus as well as an H1N1-like 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 or older can 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
* People who have health problems that make it difficult to breathe or swallow
* Health-care providers as well as 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. Payment is accepted at each clinic by cash or check. Medicare is accepted for those who qualify. Participants must bring their Medicare and supplemental insurance cards and photo identification to the clinic.
Palomar Health has scheduled 72 community flu clinics 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. Over 3,000 people received flu shots during the 2012 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 www.PalomarHealth.org/flu.