This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Flu Season is back; so is the free drive-through flu clinic.
Last week marked the official start of flu season in the United States. Beginning in October and lasting through May, flu season is the period when flu germs are most likely to be circulating and to make people sick. Each fall, the flu returns and brings with it the fever, cough, sore throat, congestion, muscle aches and fatigue that many of us dread. The symptoms can be mild and last only a few days, or can be severe and hang around for weeks. For those with underlying health conditions, like asthma or diabetes, the flu can make those illnesses worse. Even in otherwise healthy people, flu can lead to complications like ear infections and pneumonia.
Luckily, you can protect yourself and your family from the flu, while doing a bit of community service at the same time. Join Carson City Health and Human Services next Friday, Oct. 24, for its 11th annual free flu vaccination event. The drive-thru flu clinic has become a fall tradition in Carson City, and in addition to providing free flu vaccinations, the event serves as an emergency preparedness exercise to practice plans and procedures for dealing with a disaster in our community. By attending the flu clinic, you’re not only getting a free flu vaccine, you’re helping Carson City be better prepared to respond to emergencies.
Unlike the Saturday scheduling of years past, this year’s clinic will be held on Friday evening. Angela Barosso, the manager of CCHHS’ Emergency Preparedness Division, explains the change thusly: “Emergencies don’t wait for the weekend, they happen at any time, without warning. We needed to see if our plans could be implemented during a different time frame. We’re excited to try this new Friday evening program.” The clinic will remain open until 6 p.m. to accommodate those who wish to attend after work.
This year’s event will be held on Oct. 24 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Carson City Corporate Yard, located at 3303 Butti Way (between Fairview Drive and Airport Road) in Carson City. You can download the flu questionnaire at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org. Forms will also be available at the drive.
You can help prevent the flu by taking a few easy steps now and throughout the flu season.
Get your flu vaccine — Available as either a shot or as a nasal spray, an annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances you will get the flu and lessen the chance you will spread it to others. Everyone over six months of age should be vaccinated, except people who are allergic to eggs, those with a previous severe reaction to flu vaccine, or people with a history of Guillain–Barré Syndrome
Wash your hands — Handwashing prevents the spread of flu and other germs, like the common cold. Good hand hygiene can protect you against many types of germs. Use soap and water or hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean.
Cover your cough — If you do find yourself coughing and sneezing, cough into your elbow to prevent spreading germs to those around you.
If you become ill, stay home to avoid making others sick.
For those who are unable to attend the drive-thru flu clinic, the flu vaccine will be available at Carson City Health and Human Services’ Immunization Clinic every Thursday between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 and 4:30 p.m. on a walk-in basis. The cost for the flu shot is $25 and the flu mist is $35. The clinic accepts many forms of insurance as well. For information on the flu vaccine or other Health Department programs and services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cchhs.