OTTAWA — The LaSalle County Health Department is urging everyone 6 months and older to get vaccinated against seasonal influenza. The department has received its shipment of flu vaccine and will begin hosting clinics at the department beginning Saturday, Sept. 29.
Seasonal influenza vaccine and influenza HD (High Dose) vaccine for persons 65 and older will also be available. All health department influenza vaccines are preservative free.
The fee for the seasonal flu shot will be $25. The fee for influenza HD will be $50. Insurance billing will be provided for Medicare Part B and Medicaid eligible clients and also for most health insurance companies. You must have your insurance card with you, though no doctor’s order is required. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The clinic schedule will be as follows: Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Oct. 18 from 1 to 5 p.m.; Oct. 25 from 1 to 5 p.m.; and Nov. 15 from 1 to 5 p.m.
The flu vaccine’s effectiveness varies from year to year, but for those who still get the flu, the symptoms are milder than in those who haven’t been immunized. Influenza HD will be given to persons 65 and older.
Human immune defenses become weaker with age as the body’s ability to have a good response decreases. A higher dose of protection in the vaccine is added to give older people a better response and is intended to make it more effective.
To lessen the chance of developing the flu, adults and children need to practice good hygiene. Teach the importance of covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and educate children about hand to mucous membrane transmission.
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your children is through frequent and thorough hand washing. Those exhibiting symptoms should stay home from work and out of child care and school to minimize transmission.
This is also a good time for certain individuals to get a pneumonia vaccination. People who should get a pneumonia shot include those aged 65 and older; adults and children with chronic illnesses such as heart, lung, kidney, or liver diseases; diabetics; and all those with weakened immune systems caused by conditions such as HIV, cancer, organ transplants, immuno-suppressive medicines, splenectomies or any other chronic conditions.
For those under 65 with a chronic illness, it’s recommended it be repeated once after five years. A pneumonia shot is usually necessary only once for those older than 65.
The pneumonia vaccine will be available at the clinics. For more information on influenza, you can call 815-433-3366 or visit www.lasallecounty.org/hd or the department’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.