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IMPERIAL COUNTY PREPARES FOR FLU SEASON

-Editorial

The Imperial County Public Health Department announced that it will be offering flu shots to individuals six months and older at the local Public Health Department located at 935 Broadway Avenue, El Centro starting October 10th. This year, the Imperial County Public Health Department will receive approximately 7,700 doses of flu vaccine.

Those interested in receiving the flu vaccine can schedule an appointment at  https://myturn.ca.gov/ or by calling 1-833-422-4255.  The cost of receiving the flu shot at the Imperial County Public Health Department will be $2.00. In addition, the flu vaccine will be offered at community events focused on special populations including the homeless and farmworkers.  Staff will be taking protective measures and anyone arriving at the clinics with COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms will be unable to receive the vaccination.  Attendees are encouraged to wear a short sleeve shirt.  A drive-thru flu clinic will not be held this year.

Dr. Stephen Munday, Public Health Officer stated, “The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective and the Public Health Department strongly advises all individuals who are eligible, to get their flu shots to lessen their risk of contracting the flu and in preparation for the holiday season.”  With COVID-19 continuing to be present in the community, it is important that individuals prevent the flu by receiving the flu shot to reduce the risk of becoming severely ill because of the flu.  Flu vaccine may be available from local physicians, community clinics and local pharmacies.  Individuals who wish to receive the flu shot from their doctor will need to contact their healthcare provider directly about the availability of the flu vaccine.

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness.  Signs and symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity was unusually low throughout the 2020-2021 flu season in both the United States and globally due to the increased safety measures adopted because of COVID-19. Out of 818,939 individuals tested for the influenza virus, only 1,675 (0.2%) tested positive, a significant decrease from the previous years. The low level of flu activity this last season accumulated dramatically fewer flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths in comparison with the preceding flu seasons. Older adults, young children, and people with certain health conditions are at higher risk for suffering serious complications from the flu. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

For more information regarding the flu clinics or the flu vaccine, visit the Department’s website at www.icphd.org or call 442-265-6700.  Appointments for the flu clinics are available at https://myturn.ca.gov/. Information will also be available on Department’s social media platforms.

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