ST. GEORGE – The Southwest Utah Public Health Department will be holding its annual “Flu Shoot-Out” for Washington County on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at Red Cliffs Mall in St. George.
“This is a convenient way to get your flu shot and help us practice our mass-vaccination plan,” Paulette Valentine, Southwest Utah Public Health Department emergency preparedness director, said. “We have teamed up with community partners to help our residents get prepared for flu season. The process is quick, easy, inexpensive, or even free if covered by your insurance.”
It is currently recommended that everyone over 6 months of age be immunized; although young children, pregnant women, people over 65 years of age and anyone with chronic health problems are especially encouraged to do so.
Flu activity varies each year, often starting in the fall and peaking in February. Getting vaccinated is the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu activity is low right now in the United States, but flu outbreaks can happen as early as October. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for protection to set in.
Flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths every season.
More than 61 million doses of 2015-16 flu vaccine have been distributed so far. This season’s vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. While how well the vaccine works can vary, flu vaccine is the best way to protect against flu. Vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits and missed work and school, as well as preventing hospitalizations.
According to the CDC, the flu spreads person to person, and people with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, people might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouths or noses.
To avoid this, people should stay away from sick people and stay home if sick. It also is important to wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Linens, eating utensils and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately.
Further, frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill.
Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than seven days.
Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body. That means you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.
To help prevent the spread of the virus, avoid close contact with people who are sick; stay home if you’re sick; cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; wash your hands; and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Tuesday, Sept. 29 at Red Cliffs Mall, 1770 Red Cliffs Drive, St. George
- 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Drive-thru for adults 18 and older in the mall parking lot
- 1-6 p.m. – Walk-in for all ages in the mall center court
Flu Shoot-Outs for other local counties are scheduled for:
- Kane County – Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m at Kanab High School, 59 S. Cowboy Way, Kanab
- Garfield County – Oct. 15, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Panguitch Fire Station, 45 S. Main, Panguitch
- Iron County – Oct 17, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Valley View Medical Center Health Fair, 1303 N. Main St., Cedar City
The Southern Nevada Health District’s flu vaccine clinics are underway at all locations, including Mesquite.
The health district is offering injectable, quadrivalent flu vaccine this season at its public health centers. The cost of the vaccine is $41 and the trivalent high dose vaccine for people age 65 and older is $59. For more information, contact the health district’s immunization clinic at 702-759-0850 or visit www.SNHD.info.
Anyone with questions regarding which vaccine is right for him or her should contact a health care provider.
Immunizations also are available at the following health district locations:
- Mesquite Public Health Center, 830 Hafen Lane, Mesquite
- Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m.–noon and 1–4 p.m.
Flu vaccines are covered under the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. The health district accepts the following insurance plans with no copay: Anthem Networks, Culinary, Cigna, Retiree’s Health Trust, Teacher’s Health Trust, Nevada Check-up (FFS, Amerigroup and HPN), Medicaid (FFS, Amerigroup and HPN), Medicare Part B and Medicare Railroad.
Flu shots are also recommended for people with certain medical conditions, including:
- Neurological and neurodevelopmental
- Chronic lung disease
- Heart disease
- Blood disorders
- Endocrine disorders
- Kidney disorders
- Liver disorders
- Metabolic disorders
- People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
- People who are morbidly obese
Updated information about the Southern Nevada Health District can be found on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. The health district is now available in Spanish on Twitter. Don’t have a Twitter account? Follow the health district on your phone by texting “follow SNHDinfo” to 40404.
NOTE: Views on vaccines vary and exceed the scope of this public service announcement.
People who have questions about the flu vaccine, who have allergies to any of its components or who have had a previous reaction to a flu vaccine should contact a healthcare provider.
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