The nights are getting longer, the temperatures are gettng colder and that means winter is right around the corner. For those at risk of getting the flu this winter season, it also means it's time once again to consider getting that flu shot.
Will you make the right decision and get yours this season?
Southington and Plainville each have clinics coming up in the following weeks and Shane Lockwood, director of the Plainville-Southington Regional Health District, said it's important for people to take precautions to protect their health.
"It's something we'd really recommend everyone do, but there are some who shouldn't go without one," he said.
And while inaccurate rumors and overconfidence in one’s ability to stay healthy prevents people from getting the flu shot, it really is an important thing to do said Mary Lenzini, CEO of the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Connecticut. The more people who get the flu shot, the less likely anybody gets the flu, Lenzini said.
“The more people who get vaccinated, the less chance it has of spreading,” Lenzini said. “It is a pretty effective vaccine.”
Lenzini strongly encouraged elderly people, people with medical issues and pregnant women to get the shot, which is covered by most insurance companies or otherwise is around $14. It is children who are the most likely to pass around the disease, but adults actually get sicker from it, she said. In other countries, it is mandated that all children get the flu vaccination, but that has never been the case in the United States, Lenzini said.
While flu season is still generally considered a few months away, now is a good time to get the vaccination, as it will not wear out, she said. Conversely, it takes about two weeks to kick in, so if people wait too long it can be too late, Lenzini said.
She added that hand washing and covering one’s cold is still “one of the best things you can do,” but said the flu shot is a “very safe vaccine.” The vaccination is made each year based on what are the common flu strands in other countries, so it as effective as possible, she said.
She said many people don’t get the flu shot because they say they never get the flu, although she said this is “very, very good insurance” that will remain true. Although effective, it is still possible to get the flu after getting a flu shot, but even then people generally don’t get as sick from it, Lenzini added.
In preparation for flu season, the Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD) is offering a flu clinic at the Berlin Community Center, 230 Kensington Road. The clinics will be held on Thursdays:
October 25, 2012, 3 - 6 p.m.
According to the CCHD, the flu vaccine protects against the three strains of influenza that are likely to be circulating this flu season. Flu strains change regularly, so it is important to get a new flu shot every year.
The CCHD is offering flu vaccinations for anyone age 4 and older. The flu shots are provided at no charge to those covered by Medicare Part B, Aetna, ConnectiCare and Anthem. CCHD will bill the insurers directly. The cost for all others is $20.
Pneumonia shots will also be available. The same insurance restrictions apply. The cost for those not covered by the specified health plans is $50.
No one will be denied because of inability to pay, according to a news release from the CCHD.
Participants are asked to bring their health plan ID cards and wear short sleeves or loose-sleeved clothes.
Berlin residents who are homebound may call the Health District at (860) 721-2818 to arrange for a home visit.
For more information, visit the Health District’s website at www.ccthd.org.