DeKALB – DeKalb County Public Health Administrator Jane Lux and her staff already received their annual flu shots, and they are encouraging everyone else in the county to do the same.
“It was amazingly not painful,” Lux said.
Although getting a shot may or may not be painful, postponing it can be, especially for people more vulnerable to influenza such as children, senior citizens and pregnant women. Each year thousands of people in the U.S. die from the flu and many more are hospitalized, according to the county health department.
The health department is hosting walk-in flu shot clinics for adults 19 and older. The department is still waiting on vaccinations to be available for children; Lux said they expect to receive that vaccine in October.
Communities as a whole can benefit if more people receive the shot, Lux said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu vaccinations prevented an estimated 13.6 million flu cases, 5.8 million medical visits and roughly 113,000 flu-related hospitalizations in the U.S. between 2005 and 2011.
An annual flu shot is recommended because the flu strain changes every year and the shots can only protect people for that amount of time. People should get the shots before flu season begins, which can be as early as October, peaking in January or February.
KishHealth System also offers flu shots at KishHealth Physician Group locations in Genoa, DeKalb, Plano, Sandwich and Waterman, for $28. People should call ahead for an appointment.
Lehan Drugs and Schnucks Pharmacy are among the local pharmacies offering walk-in appointments. Lehan Drugs, which has locations in Sycamore and DeKalb, is giving flu shots to anyone 10 years old and older for $35. Schnucks Pharmacy in DeKalb offers flu shots at about $29. If customers have health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, they can get the shot at reduced or no cost.
While flu shots can prevent the flu, Lux said people can also help prevent the spread of the virus by washing their hands, covering their nose and mouth when sneezing and staying at home if they are ill.