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Flu Season Is Underway

Flu season is underway

Flu vaccines are now available through the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services at its Public Health Clinic, according to a DHHS press release.

Flu season typically starts in October and can last through May. After receiving the vaccine it takes two weeks to build up an immunity to the flu, so public health officials recommend that people get vaccinated early in the season.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend that anyone over six months old be vaccinated against the flu. People at high risk for developing flu-related complications, including children younger than 5, adults older than 65, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions should also be vaccinated, according to the CDC.

“You may feel like you don’t need a flu shot,” Susan Buckley, DHHS public health director, said in the release. “If so, think about getting the vaccine on behalf of those you know who are more vulnerable than you — grandchildren, friends and family who are pregnant or may be immune compromised. You’ll stay healthy as well as protecting those around you.”

The flu virus changes from year to year, and vaccines are formulated to keep up with changes in the virus. Because the virus changes, a new vaccine is needed each year to maintain immunity, according to the release.

In addition to getting vaccinated, people can prevent the spread of viruses by washing their hands, covering their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing and staying home when they are sick.

Flu vaccines are available through normal healthcare providers or by appointment through DHHS.

Appointments with the public health clinic are available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and Monday through Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. The vaccine costs $17, but Medicare is accepted and people who cannot afford the vaccine will not be turned away.

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