Health Division encourages flu shots this holiday season

Oakland County Health Division encourages residents to take action to reduce the spread of flu this holiday season by getting a flu shot. The flu shot guards against as many as four flu viruses which are most likely to occur this season.

"We advise everyone who is readily able and over the age of 6 months to get a flu shot," said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. "Stay home if you are sick over the holidays instead of visiting friends and family, and seek medical advice if you think you have the flu."

The flu vaccine not only protects from illness, but it also protects those at higher risk of complications and those unable to be vaccinated. Those who are at higher risk of flu complications are children under the age of 2, pregnant women, adults over age 65, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and those who have a chronic disease.

The flu virus can be spread to others as far as six feet away, mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. A person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own eyes, nose, or mouth. Wash hands often with soap and water to avoid the flu. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

The flu usually comes on suddenly and can cause mild to severe illness, and at times lead to death. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever, headache, body aches, fatigue, cough, runny nose, chills, sore throat.

"Get a flu shot now to ensure protection during the holiday season. It can take your body up to 2 weeks to build up immunity after vaccination," said Stafford. "December or later is not too late to get vaccinated, as flu season can go into May."

Flu shots are available at Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield from noon to 8 p.m. on Mondays and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the Health Division will be closed on Friday, Nov. 24. Pre-payment and registration are not available at these walk-in clinics. Flu shots cost $25. The high-dose flu shot recommended for those 65 years and older is $47 and is covered by Medicare.

Health Division offices are located at the following addresses:

- North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac.

- South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield.

Payment options include cash, credit (American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa), Medicare, Medicaid, and some insurance. Credit card fees apply. Please bring picture identification and all insurance cards to the clinic. OCHD participates in the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC). No one will be denied access to services due to inability to pay; there is a discounted/sliding fee schedule available.

For up-to-date information, visit www.oakgov.com/health; follow the Health Division on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC; or call the Health Division's Flu Shot Hotline at 800-434-3358. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions at 800-848-5533.

Published: Mon, Nov 27, 2017

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