The Payne County Health Department announced today its seasonal influenza vaccination clinic schedule for the upcoming flu season.  Clinics will begin October 13 when PCHD personnel visit the Cushing Senior Citizens Center. Adult seasonal flu vaccinations will be offered from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. at the center, located at 203 E. Cherry in Cushing.

Weekly flu clinics will be held at the health department’s new facility, 1026 N. Linwood Ave., each Friday during the month of October beginning on October 16. Children and adults can receive their seasonal flu vaccinations on a walk-in basis from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on those days.

“It is important that we do not forget the risks posed by seasonal influenza viruses, so now is the time for Payne County residents to get their annual seasonal flu shot,” said Annette O’Connor, Payne County Health Department Administrative Director. “This shot is different from the new H1N1 flu vaccine and will protect against this year’s seasonal influenza virus strains for the entire flu season.”

O’Connor said the shot is available for anyone who wants to be protected from seasonal flu and is especially recommended for children 6 months of age up to their 19th birthday, pregnant women, persons 50 years of age or older, persons with chronic medical conditions, residents who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, and persons who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from the flu, including health care workers.

O’Connor emphasized that flu can be a serious disease. Each year about 60 million Americans get seasonal influenza, resulting in about 36,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations. “Getting a flu shot each year is the best and most important step in protecting against flu,” she said.

 O’Connor suggested that Payne County residents “take 3 actions” to prevent the flu:

First, take time to get vaccinated for seasonal flu.

Second, take those everyday preventive actions to keep from spreading flu viruses: cover your cough; wash your hands; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. And if you get sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications.

Third, take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them, especially if you are at increased risk of complications from the flu.
Although there is no charge for getting a flu shot from the Payne County Health Department, voluntary donations will be accepted.

 “During these tight budget times, we’ll appreciate any contributions to help us offset our costs,” said O’Connor.
In addition to getting a flu vaccination, persons 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions should ask their doctor if they should be vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia, which is a common and potentially serious complication of the flu. Unlike the influenza vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccine does not need to be given every year. This vaccine is available at physicians’ offices and the Payne County Health Department. 

For more information, contact the Payne County Health Department at 918/225-3377.