CALAVERAS – Dr. Dean Kelaita, Health Officer, is urging Calaveras County residents to get vaccinated against influenza (the flu) this season as soon as possible. In California, flu usually begins to increase in late November or December. It takes a couple of weeks after vaccination for the body to respond fully, so now is the time to get vaccinated to have the best protection as the flu season begins.

“Deaths related to flu are tragic reminders that the flu virus needs to be taken very seriously,” said Dr. Kelaita. “A yearly flu shot is the best way to protect against infection and prevent others from coming down with the flu.”

A person with flu may be contagious and infect others before they even feel sick.

This season your health care provider may be offering several different kinds of injectable influenza vaccines, such as the regular version or high dose version for those over 65.

Calaveras County Public Health expects there to be enough injectable vaccine to meet the expected demand.

Each year, flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and, sometimes, tens of thousands of deaths in the United States.

To reduce this threat, an annual flu shot is recommended for everyone six months of age and older, including pregnant women. Flu shots are needed every year to maintain the greatest protection, because the vaccine changes each season to match the viruses that are circulating.

Common symptoms of the flu 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.

To stop the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses, you should also:

- Stay home when you are sick and limit your contact with others

- Cover your coughs or sneezes with your sleeve or a disposable tissue

- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

Calaveras County residents are urged to contact their health care provider, physician’s office, clinic or pharmacy about obtaining the flu vaccine. Calaveras Health & Human Services Agency, Public Health Division will be having their annual drive-thru flu vaccine clinic on Thursday November 7, 2019, 10am-2pm. No cost flu vaccine will be available to persons over the age of ten years old, while supplies last. For more information please call Calaveras County Public Health Division at (209)754-6460.

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