With crisp fall days here and flu season near, one of the most important steps in preventing the flu is getting a vaccine each year.
“As every year, it is recommended again this year,” said Dr. Bud Lawrence, medical director of the Henry Mayo Urgent Care Center. “The goal is to hopefully to minimize the chance of getting an influenza infection.”
The flu vaccine decreases the risk of full illness by 40 to 60 percent, he said.
“The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu-related illnesses and the risk of serious secondary infections that can result in hospitalization or even death,” according the city’s Tuesday news release.
“The flu can cause mild to severe symptoms and complications, and infections can come on suddenly.”
Flu vaccines are for everyone 6 months and older.
“Flu is most dangerous in our very young people and very old people,” Lawrence said. “It is recommended to get your flu shot before the end of October.”
Your body needs time to develop antibodies and react to the flu shot so you can be protected to influenza infection.
“Antibodies protect you from infection,” Lawrence said. They are blood proteins produced in response to a counteracting specific antigen, in this case influenza.
“Every year is different,” Lawrence said. Officials “try to make the flu shot to combat the usual flu viruses that will be in our community during the flu season.”
Flu season peaks between December and February and can last until May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although many receive the flu vaccine, as it is recommended by health care providers, it is still important to practice good health habits, to help stop the spread of germs and prevent the flu.
- According to the news release, here are a good health habits to practice:
- When you are sick, keep your distance from others to prevent passing on the sickness.
- Remember to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and wash your hands often to protect yourself from germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth because germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches one of these areas.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.
- Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
The Los Angeles Department of Public Health is scheduled to host two free vaccine clinics in Santa Clarita.
The shots provided at no charge for those who don’t have health insurance or those whose health care providers do not offer flu vaccines, according to the news release.
The clinics are scheduled 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Canyon Country Community Center and 4-7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, at the Newhall Community Center.
The clinics are subject to change, according to the news release. To confirm clinic times, call 661-287-7040.
If you have any questions before getting vaccinated, call your regular health care provider. If you don’t have a regular provider, call 211 for a list of no-cost or low-cost providers.
There are many places to receive the flu shot including your health care provider, clinics and drug stores such as CVS and Walgreens.
“Sometimes flu shots do run out during the season,” Lawrence said. “It is important to get in early and get your flu shot.People really do get sick from the flu, and we want to prevent it as much as we can.”