Stay healthy this year…get your flu shot
(Des Moines, IA) - Around this time, clinics, pharmacies and local health departments are hustling and bustling with flu shot activity. Hundreds of thousands of Central Iowans get their flu shot each year for a variety of reasons.
“Individuals get the flu vaccine not only to keep themselves healthy but to keep others healthy who can’t get the flu shot,” said Rick Kozin, Polk County Health Department Director.
Children under the age of six months and individuals who are allergic to ingredients in the flu vaccine are among those who cannot get a flu shot every year. When a large percentage of our community can be vaccinated against the flu every year, the spread of the virus is limited. This will indirectly protect unvaccinated individuals, including those who can’t be vaccinated for the flu.
“Others get the flu vaccine simply because they do not want to be sick and lose time from their family and the things they enjoy doing,” said Kozin.
Each year, the flu hospitalizes more than 200,000 people including 20,000 children younger than five years of age. The elderly, young children, pregnant women and individuals with chronic health conditions are more susceptible to serious health complications such as pneumonia, sinus infections, ear infections and bronchitis if they contract the illness. If, in fact, you do get the flu, be prepared to be sick for up to two weeks.
The Polk County Health Department will be hosting community flu based clinics to give the community many opportunities to get their vaccine. Visit our web site at http://www.polkcountyiowa.gov/health to find the schedule. To speed up the process at the flu clinics, individuals can download the consent form from our web site and bring the completed consent form to the clinic. Consent forms are in both English and Spanish.
If you cannot attend one of our community flu based clinics, please visit our walk-in flu clinic located at the Polk County Health Department (1907 Carpenter Ave., Des Moines). The flu walk-in clinic will be open Monday – Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM and Tuesdays until 6:30 PM.
For updates or changes in the clinic schedule, please call the Polk County FluLine, (515) 286-3609. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Don’t forget to bring your insurance card to the clinic. Fluzone, a flu shot specifically designed for individuals 65 years and older will be $50. As individuals age, their immune system weakens over time. Fluzone provides a higher dose of antigen in the vaccine and is supposed to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu. The cost for regular flu shot for individuals without insurance is $20.
For more information about the flu shot or community based clinics, please visit our website at www.polkcountyiowa.gov/health.