BULLHEAD CITY — The Arizona Department of Health Services has issued a reminder that the best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination every year.
AHDS said that the flu shot is an inactivated vaccine (coating killed virus) that is given with a needle. The flu shot is approved for use in people 6 months of age or older, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions. About two weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop that protect against influenza virus infection. Flu vaccines will not protect against flu-like illnesses caused by non-influenza viruses.
ADHS suggested that everyone get vaccinated as soon as the flu vaccine becomes available each year. However, it is still beneficial for anyone who was not vaccinated in early fall to get vaccinated later in the fall or winter because most influenza activity typically occurs in January or later. Though it varies, flu season can last as late as May, so it is never too late to get vaccinated.
Places in Bullhead City that offer the flu vaccine, according to the ADHS listings, are:
- Walmart Supercenter at 2840 Highway 95. Call 928-758-3447 for more information.
- CVS Pharmacy in the Target store in the Mohave Crossroads shopping center, 3699 Highway 95. Call 928-704-5060 for more information.
- CVS Pharmacy at 2350 Miracle Mile. Call 928-758-2212 for more information.
- Walgreens at 2360 Highway 95. Call 928-763-5858 for more information.
- Safeway at 1751 Highway 95. Call 928-763-1888 for more information.
Places in Fort Mohave that offer the flu vaccine are:
- CVS Pharmacy at 4744 Highway 95. Call 928-763-6822 for more information.
- Safeway at 4823 Highway 95 Call 928-704-4443 for more information.
- Walmart Supercenter at 5210 Highway 95. Call 928-768-9022 for more information.
The vacation is especially important for people at high risk for complications from the flu, ADHS said. This includes children aged 6 months or older, pregnant women, people 50 years of age and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions and people who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
The flu vaccination also is important for people who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from the flu. This includes health care workers, household contacts of persons at high risk and household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (children too young to be vaccinated).
There are people who should not be vaccinated without first consulting a physician, said the ADHS. These include people who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs, people with mild allergic reactions (hives) should still be vaccinated; people who have had a severe reaction to influenza in the past; people who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome within six weeks of getting an influenza vaccine previously; and children less than 6 months of age.
People who have a moderate or severe illness with fever should wait to get vaccinated until their symptoms lessen.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, about 8% of the U.S. population gets sick from the flu each year although that ranges to 11% in seasons of high flu outbreaks. While the flu is treatable, it can cause complications such as bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma and other respiratory diseases and diabetes.