Clinics set: Ventura County Health urges protecting yourself from the flu
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: January 18, 2013
Ventura County Health officials, private physicians, your relatives and friends, even strangers are saying the same thing - get that flu shot!
And not only will the county soon open their flu shot clinics; you can also get immunized at area drugstores as they receive vaccine.
This year’s flu is serious business, with deaths already being reported throughout the nation and in the state. According to Adrienne Stephens, public information officer for Ventura County Public Health (VCPH), “Flu is on the rise in California and in Ventura County,” and the agency urges “anyone who has not gotten a flu shot to do so today.”
Stephens stated last week that a California Department of Public Health (CDPH) report noted “Flu levels in California are now significantly higher than what is normally expected this time of year. Over the past week, flu levels across the state have jumped up by 10 percent.”
The widespread outbreak of the flu has caused an increase in flu cases and a sudden surge in demand for the flu vaccine in Ventura County. Ventura County’s Public Health Department reports that phones have been busier than normal with people calling in to find out where and when they can get a flu shot.
Dr. Paul Russell, deputy health officer for Ventura County Public Health, said this year’s vaccine is a “good match for the flu strains that are circulating so we encourage everyone who has not yet been vaccinated to get a flu shot now and protect themselves. It is especially important for those who are the most vulnerable to be vaccinated - the very young, very old and those with chronic illness.”
In addition to becoming vaccinated, VCPH officials remind people the easiest and best way to protect yourself from the flu and other viruses is to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
If you do become sick with the flu or other respiratory illness, the best advice is to stay home, cover a cough or sneeze by using an elbow (think Dracula’s cape) or a tissue, and then properly dispose of the used tissue.
When you wash your hands use soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding contact with eyes, nose and mouth. And remember: just because you were sick once doesn’t mean you can’t get sick again!
Ventura County Public Health clinics are offering flu vaccines for people of all ages on a first come, first served basis. Locally, Flu Shot Clinics are scheduled at Santa Paula Medical Clinic, 1334 E. Main St., on Wednesdays January 23 and February 13 and 27 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary and the clinic offers Self-Pay Discount Program, Medi-Cal, ACE for Adults and ACE for Kids, VFC, Gateway/CHDP, VCHCP, Gold Coast Health Plan and Valley Care Select IPA, as well as contracted HMOs and contracted PPOs. Figure your flu vaccine will cost anywhere from $0 to $30, depending on the type of vaccine, insurance, and qualifying programs.
For more information about flu shot availability and other locations throughout Ventura County where clinics will be held, call the Ventura County Public Health clinic appointment desk at 805-981-5221, or go to http://vchca.org/2012-seasonal-flu.