Flu Season Is Here: Help Stay Healthy With A Flu Shot

It’s flu season and time to protect yourself and those you love against the flu. A plentiful supply of the vaccine is available from health care providers and local pharmacies.

“Influenza can leave you or your family members feeling miserable with fever, cough, runny nose and muscle pain, and unable to go to school or work,” said Dr. Richard Burton, Director of the Placer County Health and Human Services Department. “Influenza typically causes the most serious illnesses in the elderly, young children, pregnant women, people with diabetes, heart, lung, kidney or liver disease, conditions affecting the immune system, and those living in long term care facilities. Tragically, over 35,000 Americans die of seasonal flu each year.”

“ Everyone should practice flu prevention by staying home when ill, covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow or using a tissue, frequent hand-washing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick,” continued Dr. Burton. “Of course, getting a flu shot is also an effective way to reduce your chances of getting the flu.”

Everyone 6 months and older should consider getting a flu vaccine each year. Occasionally an individual may be advised by their healthcare provider to not get a flu vaccine due to a contraindication (such as an egg allergy).

While everyone should consider getting a flu vaccine each flu season, it is especially important that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:

• Pregnant women

• Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old

• People 50 years of age and older

• People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart, lung disease, kidney or liver disease, and conditions affecting the immune system

• People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

• People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:

· Health care workers

· Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu

· Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

Placer County’s Health and Human Services Department will provide low-cost flu clinics at their four Community Clinics locations. Flu shots cost $20, but there is no charge to MediCare members with Part B who can show their MediCare cards and who are not enrolled in an HMO plan. These clinics are located in Kings Beach, Auburn, Lincoln, and Roseville – the dates, times and addresses for the Placer County Flu Vaccination clinics are listed below:

Oct 20th (Thursday) – 9 am-4 pm

Kings Beach Community Clinic

8665 Salmon Ave, Kings Beach

530 546-1970

Oct 24th (Monday) – 10 am-1 pm

Auburn Community Clinic Annex

11584 B Ave, Auburn

530 889-7215

Nov 4th (Friday) – 10 am-1 pm

Lincoln Lighthouse, Community Clinic

427 A St, Lincoln

530 889-7215

Nov 8th (Tuesday) – 10 am-1 pm

Roseville Community Clinic

1130 Conroy Lane, #402, Roseville

530 889-7215

Children younger than nine years of age getting a flu vaccine for the first time will need two doses of flu vaccine.

In addition to flu vaccine in the injectable form, Placer County has available for those who meet medical guidelines, vaccine in intranasal form.

Pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax) will be available for those who need it. This vaccine is recommended to help prevent the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia, which is more common during the flu season. It is recommended for those 65 years of age and older, and for others with certain long-term health problems.

Residents can check with their healthcare provider to determine if they need this vaccine, or call Placer County Community Health at (530) 889-7141.

Throughout 2011-2012 flu season, the most current schedule of opportunities for obtaining a flu vaccine will be available at www.placer.ca.gov and via recorded message at (530-889-7161)