Now is the time for residents to be vaccinated to avoid influenza this winter, according to a Tooele County health official.
This week’s FluView report, published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicates seasonal influenza activity in the United States increased slightly last week, but remains low.
“Influenza seems to peak in December and January. It is highly recommended that people are vaccinated now — the sooner the better,” said Kendra Muir, Director of Family and School Nursing at the Tooele County Health Department.
She said it takes about two weeks for antibodies to build up in the system after getting vaccinated.
Vaccines greatly reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease, according to the CDC.
The season began at the end of September and the health department and Tooele County School District combined efforts to vaccinate about 2,300 students during the month of October, Muir said.
People are encouraged to visit their health care provider, pharmacist or the health department building in Tooele to receive an influenza vaccination.
Cost for the shot at the health department building without insurance is $30.
Muir said a nasal flu vaccine is also available for people between ages 2 and 49 who are in good health and not pregnant.
“If people have severe asthma they can’t get the mist,” she said.
“We are fully stocked with flu vaccine, flu mist and the high dose shot for senior citizens,” Muir said. She said senior citizens are especially susceptible to flu complications so an extra dosage is available.
According to the CDC, influenza symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness). Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. It is important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Most people who get the flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some may develop complications such as pneumonia as a result of the flu, according to the CDC.
She said complications can be life-threatening and result in death.
An adult vaccine assessment test is available at tooelehealth.org/immunizations. The test will indicate if a person should receive other types of vaccinations in addition to the flu vaccine.
“If a person comes to the health department, a nurse will review their records and recommend various types of vaccinations,” Muir said.
“We like to remind people to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they sneeze and stay home if they are sick,” she said. “Everyone is indoors this time of year and if somebody is coughing you should stay away from them.”
Muir said it is important to have “herd immunity” in the area. It is a situation in which a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease through vaccination.
Even individuals not vaccinated, such as newborns and those with chronic illnesses, are offered protection because the disease has little opportunity to spread within the community, according to the CDC.
The health department is located at 151 N. Main Street, Tooele. For more information, call 435-277-2300.