Protect Yourself, Your Family, and Your Community from the Flu!
Flu season is upon us! At date of publication, there have been eleven confirmed cases of influenza in Montana, and the arrival of the flu in Cascade County is likely not far off. The same steps you take to prevent disease all year—washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home when sick—are also great ways to avoid the flu. This time of year, though, we have an added weapon in the fight against influenza—the flu vaccine.
Flu viruses are constantly changing; new viruses may appear each year. The flu vaccine is formulated each year and is designed to protect against the three strains of flu most likely to occur in that season. Also, the immunity provided by the vaccine will wear off by the next year’s flu season. This is why, even though you may have received a flu shot last year, you still need one this winter.
December 8th – 14th is National Influenza Vaccination Week. If you have not already done so, make sure that you get out and get your flu shot! Flu shots are recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, but are especially important for young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and those 65 years of age and older. Healthcare providers and caregivers of these groups of people are also highly encouraged to get vaccinated.
The flu vaccine is safe! Most reports of problems after flu shots are mild side effects, such as soreness in the injection area. The flu shot will not give you the flu; the virus contained in the vaccine is dead and cannot cause illness. If you do contract the flu shortly after receiving the flu shot, you were most likely exposed to the illness before the vaccine could take full effect; it can take up to two weeks to build complete immunity after being vaccinated.
The flu vaccine is effective! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that getting immunized is the single best way to protect against the flu. Not only are you protecting yourself, though; by getting immunized you are helping to protect your family and your community.
CCHD offers flu shots with no appointment necessary! Come in during our normal immunization hours to receive your flu shot from one of our friendly and professional public health nurses. Immunization hours are Tuesday from 8:30 – 11:30am and Wednesday through Friday 8:30 – 11:30am and 1:00 – 4:30pm. Flu shots cost $25 for adults and $15 for children; all payment types and insurances are accepted, and there is NO COST with Medicaid, Medicare, Medicare Advantage and HMK (CHIP).