Flu season is right around the corner and state health officials are urging people to prepare early.
The Stephens County Health Department announced this week it has flu shots available now for the public.
District Two Public Health Spokesman Dave Palmer said that people can get flu shots at the Stephens County Health Department on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“There is no appointment necessary and the cost for the flu shot is $25 this year, same as last year,” said Palmer. “They do accept Medicare, Medicaid, Peach Care, and some other insurance plans, so folks just need to bring their insurance card when they are coming for the flu shot.”
The Stephens County Health Department is located at the corner of Tugalo Street and Boulevard.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months of age and older should get the flu vaccine every year.
Palmer said for some groups, it is especially important to get the flu vaccine.
“Certain people are at higher risk for complications from the flu,” said Palmer. “Those include pregnant women, children six months to five years of age, people who are 50 years of age and older, people who have certain chronic medical conditions, and people with weakened immune systems.”
Other groups that health officials say should especially get the flu shot are people who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and people who live with or care for those at high rise for complications from the flu, including health care workers, household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu, and household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than six months of age.
Palmer said that for those age 65 and older, the Health Department has a special flu dose available.
“For folks who are 65 years old and older, we do have the high-dose flu vaccine that is approved for those folks this year that helps improve their immunity against the flu better than a regular flu shot,” said Palmer.
Flu activity typically lasts from October to May in the United States.
However, Palmer said people should get their flu shot as soon as possible.
“Flu can occur anytime and we never know when it is going to hit,” said Palmer. “It is very unpredictable.”
According to Palmer, the CDC has reported some flu activity already nationwide, but nothing abnormal.