Flu is beginning to circulate in the Spokane community and Spokane Regional Health District is recommending individuals get their flu shots now.
Spokane had its first hospitalization for flu within the past week. The sooner individuals get vaccinated the better. Flu seasons are unpredictable -- infections can cause mild to severe illness, and at times, lead to death. Last flu season, 616 people were hospitalized due to flu in Spokane County and, unfortunately, 41 deaths were attributed to flu-related complications. SRHD officials remind residents that a flu shot is the single best way for people to protect not only themselves against the flu, but their loved ones as well.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all people 6 months of age and older get immunized against flu. The vaccine promotes antibody protection within two weeks.
Flu shots are available at numerous locations throughout Spokane County including healthcare provider offices, local pharmacies and grocery stores. The health district is also partnering with numerous local agencies to offer these free vaccination clinics:
Childhood vaccinations and flu shots for children (Spokane Rotary Club 21-supported):
• Tuesday, Oct. 23, 3:30 – 6 p.m.
Farwell Elementary School, 13005 N. Crestline St.
• Wednesday, Oct. 24, 4 – 6 p.m.
Liberty Park Community Development Center, 1417 E. Hartson Ave.
Flu vaccine choices this year include:
• Trivalent vaccine -- The traditional vaccine designed to protect against three different flu viruses -- two A viruses and one B virus.
• Quadrivalent vaccine --These flu vaccines protect against four strains of influenza -- two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B. Including a second strain of influenza B provides broader protection.
• High-dose vaccines -- As people age, their immune systems weaken, which means the elderly benefit less from a standard flu shot. High-dose shots, approved for those ages 65 and over, include four times the usual level of immunity-producing proteins to provide more protection.
• Intradermal shots -- These shots are designed for needle-phobic adults ages 18 to 64 -- with shorter needles that penetrate just skin, rather than traditional intramuscular shots.
• Nasal spray flu vaccine for use in non-pregnant individuals, two years through 49 years of age
Find additional information on flu vaccine on CDC’s website.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:
• Fever or feeling feverish/chills
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Muscle or body aches
• Extreme fatigue (very tired)
According to CDC, flu killed more people in the United States last winter, about 80,000 people, than any seasonal influenza in decades.
For more information about influenza and influenza vaccine, visit cdc.gov/flu or srhd.org.