Express Flu Clinic available this month

The 2011-2012 flu season has begun and the Clayton County Board of Health will be offering efficient vaccination services this month, according to a spokesman.

Joel Hall said the department’s Express Flu Clinic will be available until Oct. 31, on weekdays from 8 a.m., to 4 p.m., at the Board of Health, located at 1117 Battle Creek Road in Jonesboro.

The clinic is located at the front entrance to the Comprehensive Health Facility at the Board of Health, he said. The nearest cross street is Chase Village Drive.

“We are trying to do our part to help the community stay healthy and productive,” said Hall.

He said, although the Board has its immunization clinic open annually, the Express Flu Clinic allows people to get vaccinated at a much quicker pace. It is set up in a special room and equipped with extra staff and volunteers.

“It is a streamlining vaccination process, so more people can get vaccinated,” he explained. “It’s an extension of the immunization clinic.”

He said the Board is offering vaccinations at the affordable cost of $20 for adults, and $14 for children, ages 6 months, to 17 years. Children must be accompanied by an adult to receive the flu shot. Cash and checks will be accepted as forms of payment, he said.

He added that most pharmacies charge $25 to $30 for a flu shot. “It is a less-expensive alternative to what pharmacies are offering,” he said. Hall said acceptable health insurance providers include: Medicaid, Medicare Part B, PeachCare for Kids and the State Health Benefit Plan.

There are currently about 1,500 flu vaccines available for the public at the Board of Health, he said. “We may be getting more as the need arises.” The flu season runs from October to May. “Basically. right now,” he said, “we are officially at the onset of the flu season in the U.S.”

Once a person receives the vaccination, it takes about two weeks for the body to develop the immune response, he said. The vaccine lasts for about six months, so it’s recommended that people get a flu shot now. The vaccine “gives folks [an] optimum level of immunity,” he added.

The vaccine also prevents people from spreading the virus to others, such as senior citizens and young children, who are more susceptible to it, Hall said.

He said 36,000 people die every year from seasonal flu complications in the U.S. Flu symptoms include high fever, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, persistent coughing, headaches –– and in young children, seizures, he said. “The flu can also complicate existing medical conditions,” he added.

People, who have the flu, should treat themselves with anti-viral medications, such as TAMIFLU or RELENZA, he advised. They should also get lots of rest and fluids. If they can’t afford to go to a health-care provider, fever-reducing medicines , such as Tylenol, are recommended, he said.