Flu shots are now available, free for those people at risk

November 19, 2003
Santa Paula News

Got flu shot?

The time is here to take advantage of the best defense you’ll have against the flu this year and there are plenty of opportunities to get low-cost or free shots right here in Santa Paula.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesGot flu shot?The time is here to take advantage of the best defense you’ll have against the flu this year and there are plenty of opportunities to get low-cost or free shots right here in Santa Paula.Influenza is a serious disease that is caused by a virus that spreads from infected persons to the nose or throat of others.Flu can cause fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chills and muscle aches and usually lasts only a few days, but some sufferers get much sicker and may need to be hospitalized.And, influenza can be deadly: an average of 36,000 Americans – mostly the elderly – die from the disease each year.Influenza vaccine is updated each year to tackle the expected strain of the virus and protection develops about two weeks after receiving the shot.The good news is that the vaccine may last up to one-year, but the bad news is that those who receive the vaccine may still get the flue by usually a shorter and milder case.
People six months of age and older at risk for getting a serious case of influenza or complications from same should get the vaccine as well as those people in close contact with them, including all household members.An annual flu shot is recommended for people 50 years of age and older, residents of long-term care facilities, people with long-term health problems with heart or lung disease, asthma, kidney disease, diabetes as well as anemia and other blood disorders.People with a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS, long-term treatment of steroids or cancer treatment with x-rays or drugs must also get a flu shot.People undergoing long-term aspirin treatment from 6 months to 18 years old should also get the flu vaccine as they could develop Reye Syndrome if they catch influenza.Pregnant women who be past the third month of pregnancy during the flu season – usually November through March but longer in some years – as well as physicians, nurses, family members or anyone else coming into close contact with people at risk of serious influenza must also receive the vaccine.Everyone else is encouraged to get the shot for their own and others’ sake unless they have serious allergies to eggs or a previous flu shot or have a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS).Flu shots are available for free for those considered at risk or for $23 each from the Ventura County/Santa Paula Public Health Center. Call 933-5505 for more information.



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