News release from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health:
Flu season is here – don’t procrastinate, vaccinate
(October 3, 2014) – Getting vaccinated is the single best way to protect yourself and loved ones from the flu. So don’t delay – get your flu shot today.
The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health is now offering the flu vaccine while supplies last. Residents can make an appointment by calling (260) 449-7514; children need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian (with appropriate consent).
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. It is typically spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing. Symptoms of flu may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.
Flu viruses are unpredictable and can change over time so it is recommend that everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu shot.
“Flu can be a devastating illness at any age,” says Dr. Deborah McMahan, Allen County Health Commissioner. “But young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to become seriously ill or even die from the flu and its complications.”
Four people died in Allen County from flu last year.
Currently, the department carries an injectable vaccine that protects against the H1N1 flu virus and two other circulating strains. The department also has a nasal spray vaccine for patients who qualify through the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. VFC clients will only be charged a $9 administration fee. For all others, the injectable vaccine is available at a cost of $19, including administration fee.
It takes about two weeks for protection to develop after the vaccination and protection lasts through the flu season. Children ages 6 months through 8 years should get two doses of vaccine if they have not previously been vaccinated.
The department’s Immunization Clinic is at 4813 New Haven Ave. The clinic’s hours are 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Flu vaccine is also available in other locations, including physician’s offices, health clinics, retail pharmacies and even through some employers.
For more information, visit www.fighttheflu.org.
Flu prevention measures
- Get an annual flu shot. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that everyone over the age of six months get vaccinated for influenza each year.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stay home from work or school and limit contact with others if you are ill. Try to avoid other people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.