Holly Smith, public information officer
Volusia County, Fla. — To protect against the seasonal flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest everyone age six months or older get a flu vaccine by the end of October. The Florida Department of Health in Volusia County (DOH-Volusia) will offer flu vaccines beginning Monday, October 10.
“By getting vaccinated, you not only protect yourself from getting the flu, but you also protect your loved ones by preventing the spread of the virus,” said DOH-Volusia Administrator Patricia Boswell. “You also can prevent spreading the flu by washing your hands regularly and staying home when sick.”
This year, the CDC only recommends injectable flu shots. Flu vaccine is available at four DOH-Volusia locations:
- 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 1845 Holsonback Drive., Daytona Beach.
- 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 775 Harley Strickland Blvd., Orange City.
- 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday at 717 W. Canal St., New Smyrna Beach.
- 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays at 3151 Howland Blvd., Deltona.
Appointments for flu shots are not required.
DOH-Volusia provides flu and pneumonia vaccines based on these fees:
- No cost for children 18 and under
- $30 basic (quadrivalent) vaccine
- $50 high-dose flu vaccine for people age 65 and older
- $85 pneumococcal (PPSV23) vaccine
- $150 pneumococcal (PCV13) vaccine
- No cost non-HMO Medicare Part B subscribers.
Seasonal flu activity can begin in October and continue through late spring, according to the CDC. Disease activity peaks between December and March.
“The flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu and its complications,” Boswell added. “By getting vaccinated before the flu season starts, people will be protected when the flu begins to affect our community in large numbers. However, getting vaccinated later still can be beneficial since the flu virus will still be circulating into January.”
Annual flu shots are recommended for people at high risk for complications from the flu including:
- People age 65 and older
- Pregnant women
- People with long-term health problems (such as asthma, diabetes, or kidney disease)
Boswell emphasized it is especially important for seniors, infants over six months of age, and people with weakened immune systems get vaccinated.
DOH-Volusia also recommends pneumonia shots for people over 65 years of age or anyone with a chronic illness or weakened immune system. This shot will help protect against pneumonia – a serious complication of the flu.
According to the CDC, after receiving the flu vaccine, the body takes about two weeks to build a full immune response and provide protection. Versions of vaccines are approved for people of different ages as well as for use in pregnant women and those with specific health conditions.
Flu vaccine also is available in a variety of locations including family physicians, pharmacies and many worksites.
DOH-Volusia encourages the following steps to avoid catching or spreading the flu:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If you do not have a tissue, cough and sneeze into your elbow to reduce spreading of germs.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are showing symptoms of illness.
- If you are sick with flu–like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone unless you need medical care or other necessities. Your fever is considered ‘gone’ when you are not using fever reducing medicines.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to avoid spreading the flu.
- Get revaccinated annually because strains of flu viruses change each year.
For more information on flu vaccines, please call the Department of Health in Volusia County at 386-274-0509. Select option 1.