The DeKalb County Health Department (DCHD) is launching its “Get Four for Flu” prevention campaign that emphasizes the importance of flu vaccination. According to Lisa Gonzalez, Public Health Administrator, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccination as the single best way to protect against influenza.
“Everyone, every year should get a flu shot to help protect themselves, their families, and the community” states Gonzalez. DCHD’s “Get Four for Flu” campaign is to note that the Health Department is providing the flu vaccine with protection against 4 different flu strains (quadrivalent) which adds an additional B strain.
The Health Department is offering walk-in flu clinics for adults and children Monday through Friday from 8:30 – noon and 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Check our website for flu vaccine information at health.dekalbcounty.org. For current updates, call the Flu Hotline at 815-748- 2410 (English) or 815-748- 2425 (Spanish). We accept Medicare, Medicaid, and most PPO health insurances. Please bring all insurance cards, a credit card, and photo id with you when coming for your flu shot. Medicaid will be billed or payment of $15 will be accepted for those children who qualify for the Vaccine for Children (VFC) program.
Gonzalez adds that it is not too early to get your flu shot. The CDC recommends that you get the vaccine as soon as it is available. This should provide protection if the flu season comes early. The flu season can begin as early as October, but most commonly peaks in January or February. Providing the flu vaccine beginning in September will give protection throughout the season. 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 before influenza illness begins in the community. Influenza affects everyone differently. Even healthy people can get the flu and it can be serious. The CDC estimates flu associated deaths range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 annually. During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older.
The CDC recommends a “Take 3” approach to fight the flu.
- Take the time to get the Flu Vaccine
- Stop Germs by avoiding close contact with sick people; if sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications; cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, preferably into your elbow or upper sleeve; wash your hands frequently; clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
- If you get the flu, ask your doctor about antiviral drugs that can make the flu illness milder, shorten the time you are sick, and may also prevent serious flu complications. These antiviral drugs work best when started within 2 days of getting sick.