Free flu shots to be offered Friday

Published 10:55pm Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Dallas County Health Department is hosting a free flu clinic Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The flu is a contagious, respiratory illness caused by the influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year.

“Every flu season is different, and we recommend you receive a flu vaccine regardless of whether you had one last year,” Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer said. “The CDC warns that even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. An annual flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.”

Brenda Anthony, the area seven nursing director agreed.

“The most important thing of course is to prevent influenza and its spread,” Anthony said.

The second most important thing, she said is to be aware of the groups that are the most susceptible to the virus.

“The younger age group tend to be more susceptible to the influenza virus,” Anthony said. “And any of those who are caring for people in a nursing home –health care workers, just family members who are taking care of the elderly, they all need to get the flu vaccine because they could possibly pass that on to the more susceptible.”

A visit to the free flu clinic could also save you money.

Typically the flu vaccine has a “varying range as far as cost,” Anthony said. “It just depends on the clinic, whether it be Walmart, Walgreens, CVS or wherever. I’m not familiar with how much they charge, but I know different places charge different things. Some people may charge $10, some may charge $30.”

Special funding from the CDC, set aside specifically to buy the flu vaccine, is what paid for the vaccine injections that will be administered at Friday’s clinic Anthony said.

“That’s how we can do it for free,” she said.

Anthony explained how the vaccine works by saying, “the vaccine acts like the flu virus to your body, so your immune systems starts building up antigens against that virus. So when you actually come in contact with it, you already have antibodies in your body to fight it off.”

To ward off any myths that the flu vaccine can actually give recipients the flu, Anthony said, “It’s not made from any live vaccines. You cannot get the flu from a dead component, which is what it’s made from. It’s something that simulates the live virus, but it’s not the live virus.”

The clinic will be held at 100 Sam O. Moseley Drive and is open to the public. No appointment is necessary.

For more information, call the Dallas County Health Department (334) 874-2550.

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