To help older individuals avoid the flu, Penn Highlands Community Nurses are offering flu shot clinics at all Centers for Active Living and at the Houtzdale Family Service Center.
Those without medical insurance coverage will be charged $40. Please bring your Medical Insurance card to clinic.
Flu shot clinics are scheduled at the following locations and times:
- Clearfield Center for Active Living, Thursday, Oct. 11, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
- Karthaus Center for Active Living, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Mahaffey Center for Active Living, Thursday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
- Coalport Center for Active Living, Thursday, Oct. 18, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Kylertown Center for Active Living, Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Houtzdale Family Service Center, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it’s especially important that certain people, especially older individuals, 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.
Influenza (“flu”) is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every year, usually between October and May.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends an influenza (flu) vaccine every year as the first and best way to protect against getting the flu.
By two weeks after vaccination, the body develops antibodies to protect against the viruses in the vaccine. Those antibodies help protect us from influenza viruses if we come in contact with them later.
The CDC recommends that people get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as the flu vaccination is available, and ideally by October.
However, getting vaccinated even later can be protective, as long as flu viruses are circulating. While seasonal influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later.
Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection, it is best that people get vaccinated so they are protected before influenza begins spreading in their community.
Vaccination before December is best since this timing ensures that protective antibodies are in place before flu activity is typically at its highest.
The CDC continues to encourage people to get vaccinated throughout the flu season, which can begin as early as October and last as late as May.
The influenza vaccine is recommended for:
- Everyone 6 months of age and older;
- People with underlying health conditions such as heart, respiratory, kidney, liver metabolic, and immune system problems;
- People with weakened immune systems such as HIV/AIDS, long-term treatment of steroids and cancer treatment with x-rays or drugs;
- Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities;
- Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than six months of age (These children are too young to be vaccinated.);
- Physicians, nurses, family members, or anyone else in close contacts with any of these groups at risk for influenza; and
- Anyone wishing to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill from influenza.
Flu is caused by influenza viruses, and is spread mainly by coughing, sneezing and close contact.
Anyone can get the flu. The flu strikes suddenly and can last several days. Symptoms vary by age, but can include:
- sore throat
- muscle aches
- runny or stuffy nose
The flu is more dangerous for some people. Infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system are at greatest risk. If you have a medical condition, such as heart or lung disease, flu can make it worse.
A dose of flu vaccine is recommended every flu season. Children 6 months through 8 years of age may need two doses during the same flu season. Everyone else needs only one dose each flu season.
There is no live flu virus in flu shots. They cannot cause the flu. There are many flu viruses, and they are always changing.
Each year a new flu vaccine is made to protect against three or four viruses that are likely to cause disease in the upcoming flu season. But even when the vaccine doesn’t exactly match these viruses, it may still provide some protection.
Anyone wishing to also eat lunch at a Center for Active Living is asked to make reservations with the center by 9:15 a.m. the day before the clinic.
In addition to the vaccination, you can help fend off the flu by keeping your immune defenses strong. That means getting proper sleep, eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise.
Also, safety measures such as washing your hands frequently and keeping them away from your face and eyes will minimize the likelihood that the virus will be transmitted from your hands to your bloodstream.
If the flu bug does bite, stay home, stay in bed, rest, and drink plenty of fluids. Throw used tissues in the trash immediately rather than allowing them to contaminate tabletops or other common areas.
For more information on the flu shot clinics, call the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging, Inc. at 814-765-2696 or 1-800-225-8571.
Programs and services of the agency are funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc, Mature Resources Foundation, and local and consumer contributions.