’Tis the season

PRINCETON — With the autumn season officially starting on Saturday, it’s not too early to get a flu vaccination.

The Bureau/Putnam County Health Department has announced nearly 20 flu clinics have been scheduled this year for the two-county area with three of those clinics conducted earlier this week and another three clinics scheduled for Thursday.

On Tuesday, Deb Piper, director of health promotion for the Bureau/Putnam County Health Department, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is recommending people get their flu vaccinations now, and it should last throughout the flu season.

As in previous years, the CDC has recommended everyone who is at least 6 months of age get a flu vaccine this season. People most susceptible to the flu are those ages 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease. Also at high risk are people who live with or care for high risk individuals.

Piper said no appointments are needed for any of the local flu clinics. Nasal spray is available only for children ages 2-18 this year. The cost for the flu vaccine is $25 for adults and $12 for children ages 18 and under. Cash, check and Medicare Part B are accepted. People using Medicare Part B should bring their cards to the clinics. Medicaid is only accepted for children ages 18 years and younger.

At this point, there is no talk of any vaccine shortages this year, Piper said. If needed, additional clinics may be added at a later date, she said.

On a state level, Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, also released a statement encouraging people to get their seasonal flu shots. People can get vaccinated in September and be protected throughout the entire flu season, which typically runs from October through May with the peak in January, he said.

“It’s important to get a seasonal flu shot every year as the flu strains often change year to year and the vaccine effectiveness declines,” Hasbrouck said. “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 you start seeing flu activity.”

According to Hasbrouck, one of the biggest myths and most common reasons people don’t get a flu shot is because they think they get the flu from a flu shot. The viruses in the flu vaccine are either killed or weakened, so a person cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine, he said.

Also, every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, Hasbrouck said. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.

In addition to getting flu vaccinations, people can also protect themselves from the flu by practicing frequent handwashing and covering their coughs and sneezes, Hasbrouck said. Also, if people are sick, they should stay home and not spread their germs, he said.

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Flu clinic locations
 
Thursday, Sept. 20  
    
8-9:30 a.m. Ohio School
10:30-11:30 a.m. LaMoille Methodist Church
1-3 p.m. Ladd Moose Lodge
 
Monday, Sept. 24          
 
8-9:30 a.m. Neponset Community Center
10:30 a.m.-noon Sheffield United Church of Christ
1:30-3 p.m. Buda Community Center
 
Wednesday, Sept. 26
 
8:30-10 a.m. Wyanet VFW     
11 a.m.-noon Tiskilwa St. Mary’s Church
3-5 p.m. DePue School
 
Thursday, Sept. 27
 
3:30-5 p.m. Hennepin St. Patrick’s Church
 
Wednesday, Oct. 3     
   
8:30-9:30  a.m. Manlius Trinity Lutheran Church
10:30 a.m.-noon Walnut Senior Center
 
Thursday, Oct. 18
 
5-6 p.m. Malden Grade School
 
Wednesday, Oct. 24
 
3-6 p.m. Bureau County Health Department