For millions of people each year, the flu can bring a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue and miserable days spent in bed instead of at work or school.
However, you may not realize that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States from flu complications each year. The flu also can be deadly. Between 1976 and 2007, CDC estimates that annual flu-associated deaths in the United States ranged from a low of about 3,000 people to a high of about 49,0000 people.
An annual flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. It's available in two forms: shots and a nasal spray. The flu shot options include the regular flu shot and a high-dose flu shot. While the regular flu shot can be given to just about everyone, the intradermal flu shot is approved for use in adults 18 through 64 years of age, and the high-dose flu shot is for people aged 65 years and older. The nasal spray vaccine is approved only for use in healthy people ages 2 to 49 years who aren't pregnant.
"Getting the flu vaccine is simple and it's the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu," says Dr. Thomas Cole, Madera County health officer.
The Madera County Public Health Department will be providing community clinics in October.There is a $5 administration fee for each shot. Flu shots at these sites are for persons 12 years of age and older. Persons 12 years and younger are recommended to see their pediatricians for their shots or can go to the Madera County Public Health Department (MCPHD) for their immunization. Clinics are held at the health department in Madera every Wednesday 8-10 a.m. Evening immunization clinics are held every second and last Wednesday of each month from 4-6:30 p.m.
Flu season lasts through February, so October and November are appropriate months to get a flu shot.
In the past, clinics have been held in Coarsegold, Bass Lake and North Fork, but this year the Oakhurst clinic is the only one being held at this time.
Oakhurst flu shot clinic
Tuesday, Oct. 9 -- Mountain Christian Center/Drive-Through Flu Clinic, 402991 Highway 49, Oakhurst -- 9:30 - 11 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 18 -- Liberty High School /Drive-Thru Flu Clinic, 12220 Road 36, Madera Ranchos -- 9:30 -11 a.m.
Details: Madera County Public Health Department, 1 (800) 427-6897.