Flu shot now wards off misery later
Gurnee-10/08/12, Mon./Advocate Condell Medical Center Bill Benson, Supervisor of Advocate Condell Immediate Care Center injects a flu shot Monday. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 9, 2012 10:42PM
Avoid a flu-and-you relationship this flu season by getting your flu shot now.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says flu season can start in early October and last until May, and since there is a two-week window for the vaccine to create antibodies, anyone 6 months old and older should get the new flu vaccine as soon as possible.
“People tend to forget that flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death,” said Irene Pierce, the Lake County Health Department’s executive director.
“An annual flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get the flu and decreases the chances that you will spread it to others,” she said.
Companies also have been urging workers to get their shots, with the owners of the Lake County News-Sun, Sun-Times Media, urging employees to take advantage of the vaccine by going to Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, CVS, or Walgreens. Physician’s offices are another option and people with HMOs should check with their preferred provider. Prices vary depending on where you live and the location where the vaccine is purchased, but it can range from $20 to $35. Some insurance plans cover the entire cost.
According to the CDC, a doctor’s office was the most popular place to receive a vaccination during the 2010-11 flu season. That was followed by stores, including pharmacies and big-box stores, and then workplace vaccinations.
Advocate Condell Medical Center’s four Acute Care Centers in Buffalo Grove, Vernon Hills, Round Lake and Gurnee will give flu shots until December. Vista Medical Center West and East in Waukegan, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Naval Hospital in North Chicago, Midwestern Regional Medical Center, Zion, and Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital and their care centers also offer flu shots.
Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville recently held a flu shot clinic to benefit the American Cancer Society at the Gurnee Centre Club for a $10 donation.
Leslie Piotrowski, with the Lake County Health Department, said they are offering flu shots by appointment only at the department’s Immunizations Annex, 2303 Dodge Ave., Waukegan. Call (847) 377-8470 to make an appointment or for more information.
Two types of immunizations are offered, the flu shot by needle and the nasal spray. The spray can cost more at some establishments.
Children 18 years old and younger who have no insurance, or whose insurance does not fully cover the cost of vaccines, can get the shot for $15. Public health officials recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated against influenza, especially pregnant women, young children, people 65 years of age and older, and anyone with underlying health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or a weakened immune system. People with severe allergies to eggs, which are used in the vaccine-manufacturing process, should check with their physician.
Before every flu season The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meets regularly to discuss and update vaccination recommendations. This year’s flu vaccine includes the H1N1 virus used to make last year’s vaccine and includes the H3N2 and B vaccine viruses, which are different from those used last year.
“Back in 2009 and 2010, during the H1N1 flu pandemic, we had a ton of people getting shots,” said Piotrowski. “But it’s too early to say if the number of people getting shots is up or down this year,” she said. “We encourage everyone to get a flu shot.”