WEDCO District Health Department and Georgetown Community Hospital are encouraging residents to get flu shots now that flu season has begun.
People are encouraged to get flu shots early October, according to Crystal Miller, WEDCO District Health Department director. WEDCO is a district that has health departments in every county it serves including Scott, Harrison and Nicholas counties. There also is a home health agency that serves all those counties in addition to Bourbon County.
“Now is our flu peak season that will run through February or March,” Miller said.
The cost is $35 to receive a flu shot at the health department.
The department previously administered 50 free flu shots for children and adults at Festival of the Horse this summer.
A booth will be set up from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 20, during Fire Safety Day at Georgetown College by the Recreation Center. The department will offer free flu shots for children and adults.
“A lot of people will say they are healthy and don’t need a flu shot,” Miller said. “We want to immunize as many people as possible which builds up antibodies to help those who have weaker immune systems from catching the flu.”
A struggle is having different strains of the flu and that is not known until flu season begins.
Tips to stay healthy during flu season were provided by Miller.
They include washing hands with warm water and antibacterial soap, using hand sanitizer, covering your mouth when you cough and staying home if you have a temperature. Drinking plenty of fluids is additional advice.
“We don’t see the days of polio because of immunizations and have forgotten those days because we have a generation who hasn’t seen that,” Miller said.
Flu shots are being offered during regular clinic hours at Scott County Health Department, 300 E. Washington St., from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. They will be required to fill out a patient form.
People are encouraged to call the health department at 502-863-3971 to set up a flu shot appointment.
Georgetown Community Hospital is encouraging people to minimize the spread of influenza this fall and winter and is encouraging all employees, medical personnel and the community to get a flu shot, according to Bridget Foster, Georgetown Community Hospital director of marketing and provider relations and industry business development.
“Getting the flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from the flu this season, and in turn, protect your family and our community from illness,” said Laura Bills, Georgetown Community Hospital infection control nurse.
Vaccinations specifically decrease the likelihood of catching the flu and help minimize symptoms if people do get sick.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual flu vaccinations for everyone six months and older with any age appropriate flu vaccine.
If people are considering a nasal spray flu vaccine, it is important to know that this option is approved by the CDC for use in non-pregnant individuals and ages 2 through 49. There is a precaution against this option with those with certain underlying medical conditions.
The hospital will offer free flu shots to the community at its annual health fair from 8 a.m. to noon Oct. 13 at the hospital.
The best way to get protected against the flu according to Bills is to get vaccinated and encourage friends and family to do the same. Practice good health habits and avoid close contact with others, avoid sharing food, cups and eating utensils and stay home when sick.
Practice good hand hygiene and wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol based. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue, and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Other tips, according to Bills, are disinfecting your home and belongings such as door knobs, light switches, children’s toys and play areas and if prescribed by a physician, take flu antiviral drugs.
Jennifer Peryam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.