Appointments now available for seasonal flu shots

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Appointments for seasonal flu shots can be made by calling the Coconino County Health Department (CCHD) Flu Information Line at (928) 679-7300 or toll-free at 1-877-679-7272. Scheduling representatives are available now.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. It's recommended that everyone 6-months-old and over get a flu shot. By getting a flu shot, you're not only protecting yourself, you're helping to protect your family, friends and loved ones. This year's seasonal influenza vaccine protects against three strains of influenza, including the H1N1 flu virus.

The cost for a flu shot at a Coconino County Health Department Clinic is $25 for adults and $15 for children aged 18 and under. As a courtesy, CCHD will bill your insurance company. Check with your insurance provider to determine your current coverage. Bring your insurance card with you to your appointment. No one will be denied service due to inability to pay.

While everyone 6-months-old and over should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it's especially important that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:

• Pregnant women;

• Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old;

• People 50 years of age and older;

• People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions;

• People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;

• People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including: health care workers, household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu, and household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated).

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

In addition to getting a seasonal flu shot, good health habits will help you stay well. These simple actions can stop the spread of germs and help protect you and others from getting sick:

• Wash your hands frequently during the flu season.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

• Avoid contact with people who are sick.

• Cover your mouth with your upper sleeve or with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

• Don't share eating utensils, cups, and straws.

• Stay home when you are sick.

Additional information is available at www.coconino.az.gov/health. Contact your health care provider or call the Coconino County Health Department at (928) 679-7300 or toll-free at 1-877-679-7272.

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