Flu Shot Clinic

Kittitas County Public Health Department personnel, along with students from Central Washington University’s EMS Paramedicine program, tend to people during a drive-thru flu shot clinic at the Kittitas County Fairgrounds on Oct. 21, 2016. This year’s flu clinic is on Oct. 25.

Wash your hands, cover your cough and get your shots, flu season is coming back. The flu season starts in October and November, peaking in December.

According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the flu season is unpredictable and while the flu affects the U.S. every year, the timing, severity and length of the influenza season varies from year to year.

To help combat the season, the Kittitas County Public Health Department there will be an annual drive-through vaccination clinic from 7 a.m. to noon Friday, Oct. 25 from noon on Eighth Avenue and Alder Street in front of the Western Village.

Kasey Knutson, Special Programs Coordinator at the Kittitas County Public Health Department said that the clinic was free for all children 18 and under, and a limited free supply for adults.

“If people can’t afford to get a flu shot, coming to the drive-through flu clinic is their best option because there is no charge,” Knutson said.

Washing your hands and staying away from sick people are encouraged as extra preventative measures. Covering your mouth when you cough and staying home if you feel sick will help prevent the spread of infection.

People can also get the vaccine from their general provider, Knutson said. It can also be found at most grocery stores and pharmacies. A map of places that offer the shot can be found at https://vaccinefinder.org.

Tim Roth, a Public Health Nurse at the Kittitas County Public Health Department said that he can’t think of anyone who shouldn’t get the flu vaccine. It is especially important for at risk groups, such as pregnant women, children, the elderly and people with pre-existing chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

Roth said children under six-months cannot receive the vaccination, which is why the CDC said it’s important that people who often come into contact with young children, such as parents and guardians, get vaccinated.

Some people may feel sick after getting the vaccine because the medicine causes your body prepare itself to fight the actual flu virus.

“It (your body) is reacting to the shot in the same way it would react to the real flu, by building an army of antibodies,” Roth said. “That’s an unpleasant process. When your army is building an army of antibodies, it means that it might give you a little fever, it means it may make you feel achey it will make you want to slow down. All those things that we associate with an illness, are your bodies garnering opposition to whatever has invaded it, and it’s usually telling you to slow down so that it can have the energy to generate all the antibodies it needs to fight whatever the intruder is.”

People are killed from the flu or flu-related diseases every year, Roth said. The respiratory aspect of the flu can complicate into pneumonia. This is usually the cause of flu related deaths, and it is the part of the flu that the shot is avoiding.

The CDC states that these flu-like symptoms from the vaccine are mild, and usually last one to two days.

“A lot of people think they should not, or they don’t want to, get a flu shot because it makes them feel kinda crummy,” Roth said. “The crummy feeling means that the flu shot is working, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.”

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