(Santa Ana, CA) – The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) has confirmed our county’s first case of influenza, signaling that flu season is officially here and serving as a reminder that the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated.
Influenza is a seasonal contagious respiratory illness which can be caused by influenza A or B viruses. Flu symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills and fatigue. Flu illness can be severe, leading to missed school or work, hospitalization and even death.
Flu virus is mainly spread through droplets from coughs and sneezes. Vaccinations are recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, and are especially important for infants, young children, pregnant women, adults over 50 and those with chronic medical conditions. Close contacts and caregivers of these high risk people should also be vaccinated.
Most insurance plans including Medi-Cal and Medicare cover free vaccinations from your health care provider. In addition, many clinics and pharmacies offer no-cost or low-cost flu shots throughout Orange County. HCA will be offering free seasonal influenza vaccinations for people six months of age and older who do not have a medical provider or health insurance coverage. Vaccinations will be available on a walk-in basis on the following day and times:
Starting November 1, 2017: Every Wednesday from 8 – 11:30 a.m. and 1 – 4 p.m.
Starting December 1, 2017, Monday – Friday from 8 – 11:30 a.m. and 1 – 4 p.m.
Remember these important steps to help stop the spread of flu and other germs:
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (or sleeve if you are caught by surprise)
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water (or alcohol-based sanitizer, if not available)
- Stay home if you are sick (at least 24 hours after your fever is gone).
The most current local information, including vaccination locations, is available at www.ochealthinfo.com/flu or by calling the Health Referral Line at 800-564-8448, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.