Even though the flu season usually peaks between December and February, immunization clinics around the nation are already getting ready to take a full swing at the flu season.
In the Onslow County Health Department, for example, patients have started coming in for flu shots starting early October, according to Jake Farnsworth, communicable disease nurse manager. He added that this is a good scenario, as doctors prefer people coming in beforehand, getting vaccinated against the influenza virus ahead of the cold season.
Getting the shot now gives time to the body to build up immunity and protection for when the season kicks in with its accompanying waves of flu. Most immunization clinics offer people flu vaccinations on a walk-in basis, so you better visit one and get a head start.
Containing a quadrivalent formulation of four strains of the virus, the regular flu shot can be given to those older than 6 months to 64. For citizens older than 65 of age, doctors recommend that a high-dose vaccine is given. The supplies of nasal spray have not been available yet, but doctors expect them to appear later in the season.
Those 18 and younger who don’t have insurance and uninsured pregnant women 19 and older benefit from free state-funded vaccines. Private physicians, pharmacies and other health departments are also certified providers of flu vaccinations.
But the Onslow Health Department seems to be doing the most community outreach; starting in October, Farnsworth said they will also go to “business areas, churches and other organizations upon request to administer the flu vaccine to larger groups.” The goal of their activities is to raise awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated.
Gloria Horne, infection control nurse at Onslow Memorial Hospital, said that “Get your flu shot” is basically the motto they are running their seasonal activities. So far, the hospital has only treated three cases of flu this season, and none required inpatient services. Doctors are, however, aware that the flu season has begun.
Seeing that the first flu death for the 2015-2016 season has already been reported by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on Oct. 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reinforcing their recommendations that all citizens aged 6 months and older should take their yearly vaccination against the flu.
For the third consecutive year, the Onslow Memorial Hospital has implemented its ‘Mask On, Mask Off’ campaign – physicians, employees, volunteers, and all contract staff who aren’t vaccinated by Oct. 15 are required to wear a face mask in order to prevent spreading the flu.
Image Source: Life&Hope Network