Flu season is here.
Doctors, medical clinics and pharmacies in Patterson, as well as the Stanislaus Health Services Agency in Modesto, are still offering seasonal flu vaccine to ward off the infection, and health officials stress that the simple shot is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.
Among the many locals, Laura Broggi, a Patterson resident and local bookkeeper, who was vaccinated a few weeks ago, said she is “older than 70” and healthy, and she wants to stay that way.
“I got the flu shot because it’s that time of the year,” Broggi said. “I don’t want to get the flu — I want to stay active and healthy.”
Richard O’Bryan, assistant director at Patterson First Care, explained that the vaccine is a way people can protect themselves from influenza.
“Influenza is a family of powerful virus that is quite debilitating and can lead to several serious complications, such as pneumonia and dehydration,” O’Bryan said. “Thousands of people worldwide die from influenza every year.”
There’s no guarantee that a vaccinated person will not get influenza, and it is possible to have a low-grade fever after receiving the vaccine.
O’Bryan said the vaccine shots are formulated to protect against the strain of influenza that most likely to be circulating around the country in a given year.
“However, scientists cannot predict with 100 percent certainty that what they formulate will work with everyone,” he said.
January is not too late to be vaccinated. Local residents can contact a health care provider or pharmacist to set up an appointment.
Patterson First Care, 101 N. Third St., gives flu vaccinations for $20 to those not covered by insurance from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, but it is wise to call for an appointment at 892-6184.
Shirley Sadiq, manager of clinical services at Del Puerto Health Center, 1700 Keystone Pacific Parkway, said flu shots cost $20 each for those not covered by insurance, and residents can drop by between 4 and 5 p.m. Thursdays or call for an appointment at 892-9100. The center hours are 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 to 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Stanislaus County Health Services Agency in Modesto offers the vaccine at a cost of $25 for an adult and $10 per child age 6 months to 18 years. No one is turned away from the health services agency because of inability to pay, however.
Those covered by a Medicare Advantage Plan should receive flu shots from their own health care providers.
“The seasonal flu vaccine is an important and safe way to protect yourself and your loved ones against the seasonal flu,” stated Dr. John Walker, Stanislaus County Public Health officer, in a news release.
The Stanislaus County Public Health Services Agency is open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. For information: 558-8872.
Local pharmacies also offer the flu vaccine. Residents should ask individual pharmacists about when vaccinations are available.
The Stanislaus Health Services Agency suggests the following tips to stay healthy during flu season:
•Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
•Cover coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or tissue.
•Wash your hands often.
•Carry hand sanitizer and use it when you are unable to wash your hands with soap and water.
•Stay home if you are sick.
Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187, ext. 22, or email@example.com.