Richland Public Health  recommends everyone age 6 months and older get an influenza (“flu”) vaccine. This recommendation follows Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

Richland Public Health flu vaccines are available by appointment and walk-in at the Public Health Clinic. Call 419-774-4700 to make an appointment.

Flu vaccines are FREE (no co-pay) with most insurances accepted by Richland Public Health. Please bring your insurance card and a photo ID. Richland Public Health cost for flu vaccine varies depending on age and type of vaccine used. Cash, check, or credit card payment is acceptable if not billing insurance.

For special home-bound services, call 419-774-4540.

Influenza is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every year, usually between October and May. Flu is caused by influenza viruses, and is spread mainly by coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Anyone can get the flu. Flu strikes suddenly and can last several days. Symptoms vary by age, but can include: fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, and runny or stuffy nose.

Flu is more dangerous for some people. Infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system are at greatest risk.

“No one likes to be sick. Getting the flu will cause you to miss work or school, along with your favorite activities,” Amy Schmidt, Director of Nursing at Richland Public Health, said. “You might also pass the flu on to your family, friends, or co-workers. Protect yourself and others. Get your flu shot.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cold and flu season runs from approximately October to May, with a peak somewhere between December and February. Flu can be widespread, with up to 49 million cases each year in the United States.

Everyone from age six months and up should get an annual flu shot. The CDC recommends getting your flu shot in October, but if you miss that month, get one as soon as possible.

About flu shots

Although no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing the flu, getting vaccinated has a number of benefits. Vaccines:

  • Reduce flu-related doctor visits by 40-60%.*
  • Lower rates of cardiac events.
  • Reduce hospitalizations among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease.
  • Lower intensive care unit admissions, as well as the length of ICU and hospital stays.
    • Richland County has had 790 cases of influenza so far in 2019 with most coming in January and February.
    • It’s not just feeling ill: 84 Richland County residents ended up in the hospital from influenza in 2019.
  • Getting your flu shot will reduce the chance of having to miss work or holiday activities.

The Richland Public Health flu immunization program is partially funded by local tax levy dollars.

*Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT INFLUENZA FROM THE CDC

What are the benefits of flu vaccination?*

There are many reasons to get a flu vaccine each year. Below is a summary of the benefits of flu vaccination, and selected scientific studies that support these benefits.

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.
    • Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. For example, during 2016-2017, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 5.3 million influenza illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations.
    • In seasons when the vaccine viruses matched circulating strains, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 30 percent to 60 percent.
  • Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working age adults, and older adults.
  • Flu vaccine prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year. For example, during 2016-2017, flu vaccination prevented an estimated 85,000 flu-related hospitalizations.
  • A 2014 study showed that flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010-2012.
  • In recent years, flu vaccines have reduced the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations among adults on average by about 40%.
  • A 2018 study showed that from 2012 to 2015, flu vaccination among adults reduced the risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with flu by 82 percent.
  • Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions.
  • Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy.
    • Vaccination reduces the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant women by up to one-half.
    • Getting vaccinated can also protect a baby after birth from flu. (Mom passes antibodies onto the developing baby during her pregnancy.)
      • A number of studies have shown that in addition to helping to protect pregnant women, a flu vaccine given during pregnancy helps protect the baby from flu infection for several months after birth, when he or she is not old enough to be vaccinated.
  • Flu vaccine can be life-saving in children.
    • A 2017 study was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from influenza.
  • Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
    • A 2017 study showed that flu vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized flu patients.
    • A 2018 study showed that among adults hospitalized with flu, vaccinated patients were 59 percent less likely to be admitted to the ICU than those who had not been vaccinated. Among adults in the ICU with flu, vaccinated patients on average spent 4 fewer days in the hospital than those who were not vaccinated.
  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

*Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). References for the studies listed above can be found at Publications on Influenza Vaccine Benefits.