Health depart­ment of­fer­ing flu vac­cine

Walker County Messenger - - Front Page -

The Walker County Health Depart­ment, 603 East Vil­lanow St., Lafayette, is now of­fer­ing flu vac­cines on a walk-in ba­sis dur­ing reg­u­lar busi­ness hours.

Pub­lic health ex­perts say now is a good time for peo­ple to con­sider get­ting vac­ci­nated for the up­com­ing flu sea­son.

“Get your flu vac­cine as soon as it is avail­able each year,” says Tracy Peve­house, nurse man­ager at the Walker County Health Depart­ment, “and there’s plenty of it avail­able in our community right now, in­clud­ing at the health depart­ment.

“We have the high dose vac­cine avail­able for adults 65 and older who are at greater risk of se­vere ill­ness from in­fluenza and the quadri­va­lent vac­cine that pro­vides broader pro­tec­tion against cir­cu­lat­ing flu viruses for ev­ery­one else.”

Peve­house says ev­ery­one six months and older should get a flu vac­cine by the end of Oc­to­ber, if pos­si­ble. Flu sea­son can start early, and it takes about two weeks af­ter your vac­ci­na­tion for the full an­ti­body ef­fect to de­velop and pro­vide flu pro­tec­tion. That’s why it’s bet­ter to get vac­ci­nated in Au­gust, Septem­ber or early Oc­to­ber, be­fore the flu sea­son re­ally kicks in.

“The flu shot will last through the flu sea­son,” Peve­house says. “It’s never too early to get a flu shot, as we can­not ac­cu­rately pre­dict when the in­fluenza sea­son will be­gin, but it can be too late.” Flu sea­son usu­ally be­gins in Oc­to­ber, but can be­gin as early as Septem­ber and can last well into March. Peak flu sea­son in Ge­or­gia usu­ally oc­curs in late Jan­uary and early Fe­bru­ary.

Who should get a flu vac­cine?

Ev­ery­one six months of age and older should get a flu vac­cine ev­ery sea­son. Vac­ci­na­tion to pre­vent in­fluenza is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for peo­ple who are at high risk of se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tion from in­fluenza, in­clud­ing:

Chil­dren younger than five, but es­pe­cially chil­dren younger than two years, Adults 65 years of age and older, Preg­nant women and women up to two weeks post­par­tum, Res­i­dents of nurs­ing homes and other longterm care fa­cil­i­ties, and Peo­ple who have med­i­cal con­di­tions in­clud­ing asthma, chronic lung dis­ease, heart dis­ease, di­a­betes, etc. It is es­pe­cially im­por­tant to get the flu vac­cine if you, some­one you live with, or some­one you care for is at high risk of com­pli­ca­tions from flu.

It’s also rec­om­mended that preg­nant women get a flu vac­cine dur­ing any trimester of their preg­nancy. There’s added value to the sea­sonal flu vac­cine for preg­nant women, too. Not only does it pro­tect them against the flu, it also pro­tects their new­born in­fants, for up to the first few months of life at least, at a time when in­fants are too young to re­ceive the vac­cine them­selves.

Walker County Health Depart­ment hours are Mon­day - Wed­nes­day 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m, Thurs­day 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Fri­day 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Hours for the En­vi­ron­men­tal Health of­fice are Mon­day – Thurs­day 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fri­day 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Ac­cept­able pay­ment meth­ods in­clude cash, check, credit-or-debit card, Medi­care, Med­i­caid, Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield of Ge­or­gia, Cigna, and United Health Care SHBP.

Con­tact the Walker County Health Depart­ment, 603 E. Vil­lanow Street, LaFayette, at 706-638-5577; the En­vi­ron­men­tal Health of­fice, 101 Napier St., LaFayette, at 706-6392574, or visit www.nwga­pub­lichealth. org/coun­ties/walker

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