The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting increased flu activity in many areas of the United States. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, influenza activity is elevated in Arizona with nearly 1,800 cases reported across the state this season.
As a result, Coconino County health officials are urging those who have not yet received a flu shot to get vaccinated.
"Flu can be serious and it is unpredictable. Remember that the flu season can continue into late spring so there is still time to get your flu shot to protect yourself and your family,” said Marie Peoples, Coconino County Public Health Services District (CCPHSD) Chief Health Officer.
Many healthcare providers and pharmacies offer low-cost flu vaccines. Individuals can also get a flu shot at the CCPHSD Clinic, 2625 N. King Street in Flagstaff.
The cost for a flu vaccination at a CCPHSD Clinic is $30 for adults and $21 for children aged 18 and under. As a courtesy, the CCPHSD will bill the insurance company, but those seeking a flu shot should check with their insurance provider to determine whether they are covered. For people without insurance, the Vaccines For Adults/Children (VFA and VFC) programs are available to assist those that are unable to pay.
While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it’s especially important that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications, including:
- Pregnant women
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2-years old
- People 50 years of age and older
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
- Health care workers
- Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
- Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
Flu symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches and fatigue. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.
In addition to getting a seasonal flu shot, good health habits will help avoid illness. These simple actions can stop the spread of germs and help protect people from getting sick:
- Wash hands frequently.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Cover mouth with the upper sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Don’t share eating utensils, cups, and straws.
- Stay home if sick.
Additional information is available at www.coconino.az.gov/health
. Contact your health care provider or call the Coconino County Public Health Services District Clinic at 928-679-7222 or toll-free at 1-877-679-7272.