The City of Long Beach Department of Health, with assistance from the American Red Cross, has announced the dates for the 2012 Annual Flu Clinics. This year’s walk-in flu clinics will begin on October 23, 2012, and continue through November 30, 2012. The clinics are for people age 60 and older and adults ages 18 - 59 who are at high-risk for serious complications from influenza.
“Getting an annual flu shot has always been recommended for people over 60 and it is also important for anyone with a health condition that increases their risk of a serious complication from the flu” said Dr. Mitchell Kushner, City Health Officer. Adults under the age of 60 who should get annual seasonal flu shots include:
• Anyone with underlying chronic medical conditions, such as heart or lung conditions, or who are immune suppressed, e.g. persons with HIV/AIDS, receiving cancer treatment, on dialysis, or
• Women who will be pregnant during flu season, or
• Caregivers of seniors or infants
Adults with Medicare Part B are urged to bring their Medicare card to the clinic to receive a free flu shot. A $2 donation to offset administrative costs will be requested from people who do not have Medicare. No appointment is needed at the following sites:
• Tuesday, Oct. 23, 9:00 am - Noon, Long Beach Senior Center 1150 E. 4th St.
• Thursday, Oct. 25, 9:00 am - Noon, American Gold Star Manor, Spring at Santa Fe Ave.
• Tuesday, Oct. 30, 9:00 am - Noon, El Dorado Park (West), 2800 Studebaker Road
• Thursday, Nov. 1, 2:30 pm - 6:30 pm Veteran's Park, 101 E. 28th St. (child vaccine also available at this clinic only.)
• Thursday, Nov. 8, 9:00 am - Noon, Houghton Park Community Center, 6301 Myrtle Ave.
• Friday, Nov. 9, 9:00 am - Noon, California Recreation Center, 1550 MLK Ave.
• Wednesday, Nov. 14, 9:00 am - Noon, Bixby Park, 130 Cherry Ave.
• Tuesday, Nov. 27, 9:00 am - Noon, Health Department, 2525 Grand Ave.
• Wednesday, Nov. 28, 9:00 am - Noon, Health Department, 2525 Grand Ave.
• Thursday, Nov. 29, 9:00 am - Noon, Health Department, 2525 Grand Ave.
• Friday, Nov. 30, 9:00 am - Noon, Health Department, 2525 Grand Ave.
According to Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza is one of the leading causes of death in the nation among people in all age groups. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC recommend annual seasonal flu vaccine for all children age 6 months to 18 years. Families should contact their healthcare provider to secure flu vaccine for their families. There is no shortage of flu vaccine this year at commercial outlets and private provider offices are well stocked. The Health Department will also have a limited supply of seasonal flu vaccine available for infants over the age of 6 months and others who cannot attend the clinics listed above at its regularly scheduled immunization clinic located at 2525 Grand Ave. Appointments are required and can be made by calling 562.570.4315.
Annual flu shots are always formulated early in the year with the three strains that scientists predict will be likely to cause flu disease in the fall and winter. Flu disease is most common in the months of January and February. The three strains of flu in the 2012-13 vaccine are A/California (H1N1), A/Victoria and B/.Wisconsin. Two of the strains (A/Victoria and B/Wisconsin) are new this year so most people will have little or no immunity to these vaccine strains, A/California (H1N1) has been available since 2009.
The Health Department also recommends that all persons practice healthy habits to prevent them from getting or transmitting the flu:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick,
• Stay home from work or school if you are sick,
• Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze,
• Wash hands with soap and water or a hand sanitizer frequently,
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and
• Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, take vitamins, exercise, get plenty of rest, do not smoke, and avoid alcoholic beverages.
The Health Department’s vaccination information Shot Line is updated periodically with flu vaccine information, and may be reached at 562.570-SHOT (570.7468). For more information about flu disease and prevention, please visit www.longbeach.gov/health.
Note that the Health Department will also be holding a special emergency preparedness exercise on Thursday, November 1, 2012 from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm at Veterans Park, 101 E. 28th St, Long Beach, where flu vaccine will be provided for all individuals over the age of 6 months. For information on that event, please visit www.longbeach.gov/health, or call 562.570.4499.