There is plenty of vaccine available to serve adults, and more vaccine to serve children is expected soon.
“Getting a flu shot is an excellent way to reduce your chances of getting seasonal flu, which can leave you and your family feeling miserable with fever, cough, runny nose and muscle pain, and unable to go to school or work,” said Dr. Michael Mulligan, Assistant County Health Officer.
“However, seasonal flu can also be a very serious disease for those at greatest risk,” he stressed. About 36,000 Americans die of seasonal flu each year, usually from complications of pneumonia.
The United States Public Health Service has identified individuals at high-risk for flu-related complications and severe disease. These individuals are strongly recommended for a flu shot and include all persons age 50 years and older, all children age 6-59 months, persons of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, and pregnant women. Persons who live with or care for persons at high risk, including household contacts and health care workers should also have a flu shot. County clinics will focus on vaccinating these groups.
If your family includes an infant, caregivers and family members should get flu shots to protect the child since babies less than six months old are too young for flu shots.
Health and Human Services recommends that children be given shots by their primary care physician now. Flu shots will be available through the county's regular immunization clinics later, as the supply of children's vaccine is currently very limited.
The flu shot is also recommended for anyone else who wants to reduce their chance of getting the flu and can be obtained from a personal health care provider or local retail establishment.
Flu shots at County clinics cost $10. There is no charge to MediCare patients who can show their MediCare cards and who are not enrolled in an HMO plan.
Washing your hands thoroughly and often, and covering your cough with a tissue or sleeve are also very important ways to stop the spread of flu viruses, according to Dr. Mulligan.. When you wash with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds – the time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice - you can significantly reduce your chances of picking up a cold or flu virus from something you touched, like a doorknob, a desk or during a handshake.
Here are other scheduled county flu clinics. For up-to-date information about Placer Countyflu immunization sites, go to www.placer.ca.gov or call the flu hotline (530-889-7161) to hear a recorded message. Additional sites will be added if more vaccine becomes available.
- Wednesday, Nov. 15, 9 AM to 11:30 AM at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Roseville, 110 Park Drive; and
- Saturday, Nov. 18, 10 AM to 2 PM at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn, 1273 High Street. This is part of the Mandarin Festival.
- Tuesday, Nov. 21, 9 AM to 11:30 AM at the City of RocklinSunsetCenter, 2650 Sunset Blvd.;
- Wednesday, Nov. 29, 9 AM to 11:30 AM at the SeniorCenterin Auburn, 11577 F Avenue; and
- Wednesday, Dec. 6, 9 AM to 11:30 AM at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Roseville, 110 Park Drive.
Some residents may be confused about the differences between seasonal flu, avian (bird) flu and pandemic flu.
At this point, the only concern is seasonal flu, which happens every year. Most people can avoid getting sick by practicing good health care habits, washing their hands often and getting flu shots. Healthy adults are not usually at risk of serious complications.
Since 1997, a strain of bird flu has affected wild and domestic birds in Asia, Europe and Africa, and some people who have had very close contact with birds. However, this bird flu does not spread easily person-to person.
There is no pandemic flu virus now. Pandemic flu is a natural occurrence, but it doesn’t happen often; the last time was 1968. A pandemic flu would be caused by a new virus not seen in people before, and would be passed person-to-person. Should it occur, it could cause serious illness and social disruption.
The World Health Organization believes that another pandemic flu will develop at some point. WHO and government agencies are closely monitoring the situation. Precautionary planning for pandemic is taking place at the local, state and federal level.