LIMA — Area health departments are stressing the importance of a flu shot now that flu season is in full swing.
Deb Roberts, director of nursing at Allen County Public Health, said the flu season usually begins in October and can go through March and even as long as May.
Allen County Public Health administered 881 influenza vaccinations in 2018 and as of Oct. 13 have administered 682 influenza vaccinations.
Roberts said the department offers flu immunizations with a walk-in clinic Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays from 8 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. There also are immunizations available for children and adults, including those without insurance.
“The most important thing to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot and cover your mouth when you cough, and stay home if you are sick,” Robert said. She said it also is important to get plenty of rest and to drink lots of liquids.
She said the flu shot protects the recipient and the people they come into contact with.
Last year’s flu season was one of the longest-running flu seasons. There have been years when cases of the flu has reported every month to the department, according to Roberts. A key point: What gets reported to health departments are only those with flu who get admitted to the hospital.
Auglaize County Health Department offers a flu vaccine for all people 6 months and older, according to Brenda Eiting, director of nursing and immunization coordinator for Auglaize County Health Department.
During the 2018-‘19 flu season, there were 845 vaccines administered by Auglaize County Health Department. From Sept. 1 to Oct. 21, there have been 399 vaccines administered.
The department reviews insurance information with clients when they schedule appointments. There also is a cash day of service or Vaccines For Children vaccine for those who qualify (0-18 years old under or uninsured, Medicaid eligible, American Indian or Alaska Native). The department hosted a “Say BOO to the FLU” event on Oct. 21 and also have additional clinics and appointments. People can visit auglaizehealth.org or call 419-738-3410 for an appointment.
Putnam County Health Department last year gave 1,735 flu vaccines, but people could also get vaccinated at doctor’s offices, pharmacies and their place of employment, according to Sherri Recker, Putnam County Health Department director of nursing.
“This year our clinics have been busy and we strive to provide vaccines to all those that are eligible and requesting protection,” Recker said.
The best way to prevent influenza is to get a vaccine. Other measures include washing your hands, covering your cough, staying home when you are sick and avoid being around others who are sick, drinking plenty of water, exercise regularly, and getting plenty of rest. These tips and others are on the Ohio Department of Health’s website and at cdc.gov.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.