September 10, 2012
Valdosta - South Health District’s 12 county health departments and
clinics have begun offering seasonal influenza (flu) vaccinations to the
general public. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.
“We have plenty of vaccine this year for everyone,” states Debra
Adams, RN, APRN, District Clinical and Nursing Director. “In addition
to flu shots, some of our health departments also offer: nasal spray,
intradermal and High-Dose flu vaccines.”
The regular flu shot is an option to people 6 months and older. The
nasal spray is available for non-pregnant, healthy people ages 2 through 49. The intradermal flu vaccine is a shot that is injected into the skin instead of the muscle. It uses a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot, and requires less antigen to be as effective as the regular flu shot. This vaccine is approved by FDA for adults 18 through 64 years of age.
Fluzone High-Dose vaccine is designed specifically for people 65 years and older. This vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen contained in regular flu shots since our immune systems become weaker with age, and places us at greater risk of severe illness from influenza, says Adams.
Public health officials encourage everyone to get the shot. “You are
protecting yourself as well as the people you are around when you get
vaccinated. You can pass the flu to someone else before you even know you are sick,” states Adams.
Other than getting the vaccine, there are everyday preventive actions
to stop the spread of the flu: wash your hands often with soap and
water; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and then throw it away; avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes, since germs can pass this way and; avoid close contact with sick people. Most importantly, if you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone to avoid spreading the flu to
The seasonal flu shot is $20; for availability and pricing of nasal
spray, intradermal or High-Dose flu vaccines, call your local health
department. Cash, check, Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia: BlueChoice PPO are accepted at all health departments. United Healthcare and Cigna are also accepted for state employees.