Arlington, VA

With temperatures in the 60s this week, it may seem too early to worry about fighting off sickness this winter. Already, though, illnesses are popping up around the area. That should be the perfect reminder to go out and get a vaccine now that flu season is in full swing.

Flu season continues into the spring, and although shots are effective no matter when they’re administered, it’s better to get one early in the season. This is especially true considering the vaccine will typically take a week or two to kick in.

Flu shots gained popularity in Arlington during the H1N1 scare, and county officials are pleased with the number of people continuing to get vaccinated. Although it’s difficult to predict so early in the season, thus far there are no indicators to suggest a flu outbreak like we’ve seen in recent years. The county also reports there is ample supply of this year’s flu vaccine. It protects against three different strains of influenza, including H1N1.

“The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated,” said Arlington County Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months of age and older should get an annual flu vaccine.”

“Residents can get vaccinated at doctor’s offices, many retail stores throughout the County and at special community clinics offered through Partnerships for a Healthier Arlington and Inova Health Systems,” Larrick continued. “At these community clinics you can get the entire family vaccinated, and the vaccine is free for older adults with Medicare Part B.”

If not covered by insurance, flu shots typically go for about $30.

Prevention, Larrick added, should also be part of any flu season strategy.

“It’s also important to cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently and stay home when sick,” he said.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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