Health officials say it’s time for flu shots
Durham County health officials say it’s time to get a flu shot, and they’re offering them – at no charge for those who qualify – daily.
“It is definitely time to get your flu shots, since the flu season can start as early as October,” Dr. Arlene Sena, medical director for the Durham County Department of Public Health, said. “It can take two to three weeks for a person’s immune system to develop influenza antibodies after vaccination, so it would be best to have some protection against the flu before Thanksgiving arrives.”
The department, located in the Human Services Building at 414 E. Main St., is offering flu shot from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays in Lobby 7.
Shots will be offered only from 8:30 to 11 a.m. the first Wednesday of the month.
No appointment is required.
The cost for the shot is $29, and the nasal flu mist is $31. A sliding fee scale may be applied for those who qualify.
Most children and uninsured pregnant women may qualify for the shot at no charge.
As of Oct. 12, for the 2013-14 flu season, North Carolina had only two confirmed cases of flu at the State Public Health Laboratory, Sena said. They were in Chowan and Forsyth counties.
“Each flu season is unique,” she said. “Therefore, it’s challenging, especially this early in the season, to know what to expect from this flu season or what the dominant strains will be. However, the 2013-14 flu vaccine is closely matched to the dominant flu strains circulating.”
The best way to prevent the flu, she said, is to get a flu shot each season.
Flu can lead to other medical conditions, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, which can be life-threatening or fatal, Sena said.
“This is particularly true for young children, pregnant women, seniors, or anyone who may have a chronic medical condition, such as heart disease, diabetes or asthma.”
The flu usually comes on suddenly, health officials said. People with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever or chills.
- Sore throat.
- Runny or stuffy nose.
- Muscle or body aches.
In addition to flu shots, the Health Department recommends:
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throwing it away.
- Washing hands often, preferably with soap and water or an approved hand sanitizer.
- Staying home when you’re sick until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours.
In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme fatigue and dry cough are more common and intense, according to health officials.
Colds are usually milder, and people are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds normally don’t result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections or hospitalizations.
FIND OUT MORE
For information, call the Durham County Department of Public Health at 919-560-7608.