Health officials are reminding Long Beach residents that it’s not too early to get a flu shot now. While winter is the typical time for flu activity, outbreaks can occur as early as October. An annual flu shot is the best way to keep people from getting ill.
“Everyone age 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine each year, especially those with a health condition that may increase their risk of serious complications from the flu,” said Dr. Mitchell Kushner, Long Beach City Health Officer. “By getting the vaccine, people can protect themselves from seasonal flu and may also avoid spreading the flu to others.”
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this season’s flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses, making the vaccine more effective than it was last flu season. Protection sets in about two weeks after getting the flu shot.
While for most people getting the flu means fever, chills, aches, pains, and coughing, the flu can be deadly for others. Flu shots are especially important for people at high risk for serious complications from the flu, including people ages 60 and older, pregnant women, caregivers of seniors or infants, and anyone with an underlying chronic medical condition (such as heart or lung condition), or who are immune compromised, such as persons with HIV/AIDS, on dialysis, or receiving cancer treatment.
The Health Department is hosting several neighborhood flu clinics throughout the city, kicking things off with two free large-scale flu shot clinics on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm at:
• Silverado Park, 1545 W. 31st Street
• Long Beach Health Department, 2525 Grand Avenue
No appointment is needed at the October 20 clinics, or at the following clinics:
• Thursday, October 22, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm, Long Beach Senior Center, 1150 4th Street
• Friday, October 23, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm, El Dorado Park Senior Center, 2800 Studebaker Avenue
• Tuesday, November 3, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm, Bixby Park, 130 Cherry Avenue
• Wednesday, November 4, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm, Scherer Park, 4600 Long Beach Boulevard (Enter via 46th Street and Pasadena Avenue)
• Thursday, November 5, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm, Houghton Park Community Center, 6301 Myrtle Avenue
• Thursday, November 12, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm, McBride Park/Cal Rec Center, 1550 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Appointments will also be accepted at the Health Department during regular business hours by calling 562.570.4315 (a small administrative fee may apply). Adults with Medicare Part B or other insurance are urged to bring their Medicare/insurance card to their appointment. Parents should bring their children’s immunization records – some children will need two doses of the vaccine given one month apart depending on their immunization history.
Residents can also contact their regular doctor for information on getting a flu shot. Many private providers have already received the flu vaccine and are making it available to their patients. Some neighborhood pharmacies are providing flu vaccines to the public at a low fee.
The Health Department also recommends that all persons practice healthy habits to prevent getting or transmitting the flu:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
• Stay home from work or school if you are sick;
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze;
• Wash hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer frequently;
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and
• Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, take vitamins, get plenty of rest, do not smoke, and avoid alcoholic beverages.
The Health Department is also working with local hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and other healthcare providers to ensure that their staffs are vaccinated against the flu in order to protect patients.
For more information about the flu or upcoming clinics, call the Health Department’s Vaccination Information Line at .562.570.SHOT (7468) or visit www.longbeach.gov/health