The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urges Californians to get the influenza (flu) vaccine in September or October ahead of the arrival of influenza season.
According to health officials, the flu season in California usually begins to increase in late November or December. It takes a couple of weeks after vaccination for the body to respond fully, so they say now is the time to get vaccinated to have the best protection before the flu season begins.
CDPH recommends everyone six months of age and older get the annual flu vaccine. Children under five, adults 65 years of age and older, people with chronic conditions such as heart disease and asthma, and those who are pregnant are particularly at risk for flu-related complications. CDPH says that flu shots are needed every year to maintain the greatest protection because the vaccine changes each season to match the circulating viruses.
“Getting vaccinated is the best protection against flu illness,” said CDPH Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “You can prevent missing work or school, visits to the doctor or hospitalizations, and protecting others from coming down with the flu.”
For the second year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends only the injectable flu vaccines. The nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended for use this season due to concerns about the effectiveness.
In addition to getting the vaccine, health officials advise people to take the following steps to stop the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses.
- Stay home while sick and limit contact with others
- Cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve or disposable tissue
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol- based hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose. and mouth
Symptoms include fever or feeling feverish, a cough and/or sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, chills, fatigue, and body aches. Children may also have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
The CDPH encourages Californians to contact their health care provider, physician’s office, clinic or pharmacy about obtaining the flu vaccine.
San Benito County Public Health Services will be conducting a free Flu Vaccination Clinic at Veterans Memorial Building, located at 649 San Benito Street in Hollister on Thursday, Oct. 26 from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
For more information regarding the flu, call Public Health Services at (831) 637-5367 or visit the San Benito County Health and Human Services Agency Website.