DeKALB – DeKalb County Public Health Administrator Jane Lux got flu shots along with her staff Tuesday, and they are encouraging everyone else in the county to do the same.
“It was amazingly not painful,” she said.
Although getting a shot may or may not be painful for some, postponing it can be painful, especially for people more vulnerable to influenza such as children, senior citizens and pregnant women. Each year thousands of people in the U.S. die from the flu and many more are hospitalized, according to the DeKalb County Health Department.
The health department is hosting walk-in flu shot clinics for adults age 19 and older Thursday. The department is still waiting on vaccinations to be available for children. Lux said they expect to receive that vaccine in October.
Communities as a whole can benefit if more people receive the shot, Lux said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu vaccinations prevented an estimated 13.6 million flu cases, 5.8 million medical visits and roughly 113,000 flu-related hospitalizations in the U.S. between 2005 and 2011.
“That’s why we are big into public health prevention because the more people get vaccinated, the more people are protected,” she said.
An annual flu shot is recommended because the flu strain changes every year and the shots can only protect people for that amount of time. People should also get the shots before flu season begins, which can start as early as October and can peak in January or February.
The DeKalb County Health Department isn’t the only one offering flu shots.
KishHealth System also is offering flu shots at their KishHealth Physician Group locations in Genoa, DeKalb, Plano, Sandwich and Waterman. Flu shots, which are expected to be available next week, will be offered for $28. People should call ahead time to receive a shot, said Theresa Komitas, KishHealth director of marketing and public relations.
Lehan Drugs and Schnucks Pharmacy are among the local pharmacies offering walk-in appointments. Lehan Drugs, which has locations in Sycamore and DeKalb, is giving flu shots to anyone 10 years old and older for $35. Schnucks Pharmacy in DeKalb is offering flu shots at about $29. If customers have health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, they can get the shot at reduced or no cost.
Tim Lehan, Lehan Drugs pharmacist and owner, said Lehan Drugs gives about 2,000 vaccinations every year at both their locations. As with Lux, he sees increased vaccination rates preventing the flu altogether.
“Looking at years past, it’s worked well,” he said.
While flu shots can prevent the flu, Lux said people can also help prevent the spread of the virus by washing their hands, covering their nose and mouth when sneezing and staying at home if they are ill.
If you go
What: Walk-in flu clinics for adults
When: 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday
Where: DeKalb County Health Department. 2550 North Annie Glidden Road, DeKalb