LIMA — Flu season is in full swing, and area health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated.
Director of Nursing Services at Allen County Public Health Deb Roberts said flu season typically begins in October and November and can extend into February or March.
The health department has flu shots available for those who have insurance as well as those who don’t. Any child who has Medicaid or no insurance can also receive a flu shot.
Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from the flu, Roberts said.
“You’re not only protecting yourself, but those around you,” Roberts said.
An infant up to age 6 months cannot get a flu shot so it is important for adults to receive a flu shot so viruses are not passed on to infants.
Last year was a bad season with a lot of flu-related deaths nationwide, Roberts said.
Tips to stay healthy are to get a flu shot, stay home if not feeling well, wash hands and cough in your elbow or sleeve, not in your hand, because the flu virus can be spread onto objects other people touch.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone over the age of 6 months to get a flu shot. She added it is important for the elderly, pregnant and youth to also receive flu shots.
“Those who have medical risks have a greater risk of developing complications from the flu,” Roberts said.
Putnam County Health Department Director of Nursing Sherri Recker said the department administered 1,573 flu shots in the county in 2017 and 1,348 shots as of Oct. 31 this year.
“People have been coming in regularly to get flu shots and our big uptick for flu vaccines is in October and November,” Recker said.
Flu season in Ohio is from January to March where the most influenza disease occurs. Last year in Putnam County, flu numbers were elevated, Recker said.
The flu vaccine wasn’t a good match last year, but Recker is anticipating it to be a better match this year.
Putnam County Health Department vaccinates anyone 6 months or older with the vaccine being purchased by the department to give to privately insured people that is purchased through manufacturers. A limited number of vaccines are administered to those who have lack of ability to pay.
“The flu vaccine is the best way to protect from influenza. It gives you protection from the disease and the young, elderly and those with chronic illnesses,” Recker said.
Auglaize County Health Department Director of Nursing Brenda Eiting said the department has been busier earlier with people requesting flu shot appointments.
“Last season was considered a high severity season with influenza, and the CDC recommended getting flu shots earlier,” Eiting said.
The department offers flu vaccines for those 6 months to age 18 and adults who have and don’t have insurance.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.