Spokane Health: Get your shots, flu season is here

flu seasonThe Spokane Regional Health District reports the city had its first hospitalization this past week, and recommends the community gets flu shots now to combat the virus. They say the sooner people get vaccinated the better.

According the Health District, flu seasons are unpredictable: infections can cause mild to severe illness, and at times, lead to death. SRHD officials remind residents that a flu shot is the single best way for people to protect not only themselves against the flu, but their loved ones as well.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all people 6 months of age and older get immunized against flu. The vaccine promotes antibody protection within two weeks.

Looking to get your flu shot? Shots are available throughout Spokane County, including health care provider offices, local pharmacies and grocery stores. The health district is also partnering with numerous local agencies to offer these free vaccination clinics:

Childhood vaccinations and flu shots for children:

  • Thursday, Oct. 12, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    • Reardan Elementary, 245 S. Aspen St.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 17, 3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
    • Farwell Elementary, 13005 N. Crestline St.

Childhood vaccinations and flu shots for children and adults (Rotary Club-sponsored):

  • Tuesday, Oct. 24, 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
    • Garfield Elementary, 222 W. Knox Ave.
    • Logan Elementary, 1001 E. Montgomery Ave.
    • Stevens Elementary, 1717 E. Sinto Ave.

Flu vaccine choices this year include:

Trivalent vaccine The traditional vaccine designed to protect against three different flu viruses: two A viruses and one B virus.

Quadrivalent vaccine These flu vaccines protect against four strains of influenza: two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B. Including a second strain of influenza B provides broader protection.

High-dose vaccines As people age, their immune systems weaken, which means the elderly benefit less than younger people from a standard flu shot. High-dose shots, approved for those ages 65 and over, include four times the usual level of immunity-producing proteins to provide more protection.

Intradermal shots These shots are designed for needle-phobic adults ages 18 to 64—with shorter needles that penetrate just skin, rather than traditional intramuscular shots.

The nasal spray flu vaccine is not recommended due to a lack of proven effectiveness for preventing influenza.

Last flu season, 315 people were hospitalized due to flu in Spokane County and, unfortunately, 14 residents’ deaths were attributed to flu-related complications. CDC estimates that flu resulted in 9.2 million to 35.6 million U.S. infections since 2010. Its figures also show that from 2010-2014, annual influenza-associated deaths ranged from a low of 12,000 (during the 2011-2012 season) to a high of 56,000 (during 2012-2013).

For more information, visit cdc.gov/flu or srhd.org.

(story: Matt Pusatory, KHQ Local News Web Producer; image: KHQ.com)

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