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Feb.1, 2018, Pontiac, Mich. – The Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) continues to strongly urge residents to get vaccinated against flu as cases reach the highest level in nearly a decade. As of Jan. 18, Oakland County has had more than 1705 confirmed flu cases since Oct. 1, 2017.
“I strongly urge everyone who is able to get a flu shot to protect themselves and those around them,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for OCHD. “Getting an annual flu shot decreases the risk of getting the flu. It also helps decrease severity of the illness, complications, and protects the entire community, especially those who are unable to get a flu shot.”
The Health Division recommends everyone over the age of six months receive an influenza vaccination and take preventive actions, such as washing your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.Vulnerable individuals are at greater risk of getting the flu, which can be a life-threatening illness. Those who are at a higher risk of flu complications are:
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expect that pediatric flu deaths could reach a record high this year across the country,” said Stafford. “Young children are especially at risk for the flu. If your child develops a fever, respiratory symptoms, or is less responsive than normal, contact your child’s doctor immediately.”
Those who live, work, or interact with higher-risk populations are recommended to get the flu vaccine to protect those who are more at risk. This year’s vaccine protects against Type A H1N1, H3N2, and two Type B strains which are most likely to occur this season.
The flu virus can spread to others as far as six feet away, mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Less often, a person may also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own eyes, nose, or mouth.
The flu usually occurs suddenly and can cause mild to severe illness and sometimes lead to death. Symptoms of the flu include:
Flu shots are available at Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield on Mondays, Noon – 8 p.m. and Tuesdays through Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Pre-payment and registration are not available at these walk-in clinics. Flu shots may also be available through your physician and at select pharmacies.
Flu shots cost $25. The high-dose flu shot recommended for those 65 years and older is $47 and is covered by Medicare. Payment options include cash, credit (American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa), Medicare, Medicaid, and some insurance. Credit card fees apply. Please bring picture identification and all insurance cards to the clinic. OCHD participates in the Vaccines for Children Program. No one will be denied access to services due to inability to pay; there is a discounted/sliding fee schedule available.
For up-to-date information, visit www.oakgov.com/health; follow the Health Division on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @publichealthOC; or call the Health Division’s Flu Shot Hotline at 800-434-3358. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions at 800-848-5533.