Vaccine is your best shot against the flu

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News release from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health:

Vaccine is your best shot against the flu

Getting vaccinated against the flu is easier than ever before and one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your loved ones this holiday season.

‘Tis the season for influenza, or the flu, a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus that can be serious and even life-threatening for our most vulnerable populations, including infants, seniors and those with compromised immune systems.

Nationally, influenza is estimated to kill an average of 23,600 people and hospitalize over 200,000 people annually. That’s why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the single most important step against getting the flu and spreading it to others.

“With the holidays fast approaching, there’s no better time to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and your family,” says Dr. Deborah McMahan, MD, Allen County Health Commissioner. “Getting vaccinated has never been easier as there is plenty of vaccine and more choices than ever, in terms of where to get vaccinated and what vaccine to get.”

Flu vaccine is offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies as well as by many employers, and even in some schools. There are now four types of flu vaccines available, although not every type is offered by every provider:

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[li]A regular flu shot approved for people 6 months of age and older. This is given with a needle, usually in the arm.[/li]
[li]A high-dose flu shot approved for people 65 and older. This is an injectable vaccine contains a higher dose of antigen to help produce a stronger immune response to better protect seniors.[/li]
[li]An intradermal flu shot approved for people 18 to 64 years of age. This is injected into the skin instead of the muscle and uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot (This was first introduced in 2011 so may not be widely available yet).[/li]
[li]A nasal spray vaccine approved for healthy people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant. The nasal spray is not suitable for children younger than 2 or children with underlying medical conditions, such as asthma.[/li]
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The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health offers the regular flu shots for children, teens and adults for $18. The high-dose flu shot for seniors is available for $34. The nasal spray vaccine is available for those who are eligible. Call (260) 449-7504 to make an appointment.

Super Shot Inc., which operates walk-in vaccine clinics around the city, offers the regular flu shot and nasal spray vaccine for $8 per vaccine. No appointment is necessary. Call (260) 424-7468 or visit https://supershot.org/ for times and locations.

Residents in need of a flu vaccine can also check with their health care provider or visit their neighborhood pharmacy or RediMed urgent care clinic.

For more information or to find a flu vaccine provider in your area, visit www.fighttheflu.org.

Flu prevention measures

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[li]Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Use alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water is not available.[/li]
[li]Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, rather than your hands, if a tissue is not available.[/li]
[li]Stay home from work or school and limit contact with others if you are ill. Try to avoid other people who are sick.[/li]
[li]Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.[/li]
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Go to www.fighttheflu.org.

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