Flu and You

As a representative of the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department, it’s my job to keep the community updated on things that can affect you and your family’s health. Unfortunately, it’s time to discuss an upcoming virus that can cause sickness, and even death. That’s right, this week we’re talking about the upcoming flu season and updates to this year’s flu shot.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last year’s flu season was rougher than normal. Last year’s flu strain caused a significant amount of alarm and many people wondered what made the 2017-2018 flu season so bad. Last flu season was dominated by influenza strain A(H3N2). This strain is known to cause a higher rate of hospitalizations and deaths, and that’s exactly what happened. As if things couldn’t get worse, last year’s flu vaccine also had a lower vaccine effectiveness against the H3N2 strain.

Fortunately, the great minds who create these vaccines have learned from last year’s H3N2 debacle. The 2018-2019 flu vaccine has been updated to better match the circulating flu virus, meaning influenza A(H3N2) shouldn’t rear its ugly head. The 2018-2019 vaccine will be a quadrivalent (four-component) vaccine that protects against a multitude of influenza strains.

After receiving the vaccine, our bodies take about two weeks to develop the antibodies to protect against the flu virus. Because of this, the CDC recommends for everyone to get their flu vaccination by the end of October, before peak flu season begins. If you’re unable to receive your vaccination in October, that’s okay too. Just make sure you receive your vaccination as soon as possible.

The Grafton-Taylor County Health Department will be offering flu shots beginning this month (September). We will be offering a quadrivalent flu vaccine, as well as the 65 and over flu vaccine. Just like last year, our flu shots will be offered for a low and competitive price. This administration fee can be billed through insurance or payed out of pocket. If you need a flu shot but money is tight, payment plans are available. Here at the Grafton-Taylor Health Department, no one is turned away!

If you’re interested in learning more about this year’s flu vaccine or would like to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to call the office at 304-265-1288 or visit our website at WWW.GTCHDWV.ORG. Appointments are available daily and we will gladly work around your schedule!

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