Summer came and passed. And hard as it is to believe, flu season is rapidly approaching.
Crawford County Health Department will begin flu vaccination clinics Tuesday, Oct. 2. The first clinic, from 8 to 11 a.m. will be for adults only at the health department office, 202 N. Christopher.
The department encourages flu vaccinations for everyone over six months of age, and plans to provide ample opportunities for vaccination this season. Some clinics will be open to adults only, while others will be open to both adults and children as noted in the schedule listed below.
Other upcoming clinics at the department office are:
4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3 (adults and children).
4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10 (adults and children).
1 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11 (adults only).
1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29 (adults and children).
4 to 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5 (adults and children).
4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14 (adults and children).
Also, CCDH will again offer flu shots for adults only during the Heath Harvest Festival. Immunizations will be available at the event from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 6.
The department also is planning a drive-through clinic again this year. The date and time is to be announced soon. The drive-through clinic offers an opportunity for those with limited mobility to receive a shot without leaving their vehicle.
During November and December vaccinations will also be provided every Monday morning from 8 to 11 a.m. during the department's regular "walk in" clinics.
Persons who want to be vaccinated who are unable to attend one of these organized clinics may call the CCDH to schedule an individual appointment. Special arrangements can be made to accommodate those with limited mobility.
"High-dose" vaccinations will be available upon request for those who are over 65 years old.
There is a charge for the seasonal flu shot. Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and several other insurance companies can be billed for flu vaccination for those persons presenting appropriate cards.
Residents with questions about flu vaccination, scheduling or insurance coverage should call CCHD at 544-8798.
The Illinois Department of Public Health recommends everyone six months and older be vaccinated for influenza as soon as the vaccine is available. The nasal spray flu vaccine is once again a recommended option for flu vaccination. During the past two flu seasons, the nasal spray was not recommended due to concern about its effectiveness.
"It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body," said IDPH Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah. "The flu season typically starts around October so we recommend you make plans to get vaccinated now, before flu season begins."
Flu activity peaks between December and February, but activity can last as late as May. Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness. Serious cases of flu can result in hospitalization or death.
Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. It can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, especially those who may not be able to be vaccinated, such as babies younger than six months. Anyone can get the flu, even healthy people. Getting vaccinated is the first and most important step in protecting you and those around you against flu viruses.
Flu symptoms can include fever or feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache and tiredness. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Flu is typically spread by droplets when someone with the flu talks, coughs, or sneezes. People can also get the flu by touching something, like a door handle, that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, eyes or nose.
On average, it's about two days after being exposed to the flu before symptoms begin. However, you can pass the flu to someone roughly a day before you start experiencing those symptoms and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
In addition to getting a flu shot, IDPH recommends following the 3 C's: clean, cover and contain.
Clean: frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water.
Cover: cover your cough and sneeze.
Contain: contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.
Antiviral drugs can be a second line of defense for treatment of some who get sick with the flu. Many observational studies have found that in addition to lessening the duration and severity of symptoms, antiviral drugs can prevent flu complications. Because it is important to start antiviral medication quickly, high-risk patients should contact a health care professional at the first signs of influenza symptoms, which include sudden onset of fever, aches, chills and tiredness.