To reduce the risk of illness, public health departments and healthcare organizations across the state, including the DeKalb County Health Department, are encouraging residents to get a flu shot during Vaccinate Illinois Week, December 6 through the 12. Vaccinate Illinois Week is a statewide observance focused on educating the public about the importance of flu vaccine during the fall and winter months.
Public health officials recommend that everyone six 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. A flu vaccine is needed every year because flu viruses are constantly changing. People with flu can spread it to others as far as 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has a flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose. Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
In addition to getting a flu shot, you can also reduce your risk by:
• Washing your hands regularly with soap and water. If soap and water are not available,
use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Practicing good cough etiquette, such as coughing into your elbow instead of your hands.
• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth; germs are spread this way.
• Avoiding close contact with sick people. If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home
for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
It takes about two weeks after receiving the vaccine for antibodies to build up in the body, so it is important to get the vaccine as soon as possible.
DeKalb County Health Department walk-in flu clinics are open Monday-Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., no appointment necessary. Medicaid and most private insurances accepted. Please bring a photo id and insurance card. Please note that a parent or guardian must accompany children under the age of 18. Late clinic hours are offered on December 16th. Hours are 8:30am-11:30am and 1pm-6pm. For further information visit: health.dekalbcounty.org.