Long Beach health officials are encouraging residents to get their annual flu shots ahead of the winter season to be safe from outbreaks that can occur as early as October, the city announced today.
“Everyone age 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine each year, especially those with a health condition that may increase their risk of serious complications from the flu,” said Dr. Mitchell Kushner, Long Beach City Health Officer. “By getting the vaccine, people can protect themselves from seasonal flu and may also avoid spreading the flu to others.”
Flu vaccines have been made more effective this season to better match circulating viruses, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Those vaccinated will receive protection about two weeks after getting the flu shot.
While most people experience fevers, chills, aches, pains and coughing, the flu can cause serious complications for those aged 60 and older, pregnant women, caregivers of seniors or infants, or those with an underlying chronic medical condition or weak immune systems.
The Health Department will host several neighborhood flu clinics throughout the city, commencing with two free large-scale flu shot clinics on Tuesday, October 20, from 2:00PM to 7:00PM.
The free clinics will be held at:
- Silverado Park, 1545 West 31st Street
- Long Beach Health Department, 2525 Grand Avenue
There will also be clinics at the following dates and locations:
- Thursday, October 22, 8:00AM – Noon, Long Beach Senior Center, 1150 Fourth Street
- Friday, October 23, 8:00AM – Noon, El Dorado Park Senior Center, 2800 Studebaker Avenue
- Tuesday, November 3, 8:00AM – Noon, Bixby Park, 130 Cherry Avenue
- Wednesday, November 4, 8:00AM – Noon, Scherer Park, 4600 Long Beach Boulevard (Enter via 46th Street and Pasadena Avenue)
- Thursday, November 5, 8:00AM – Noon, Houghton Park Community Center, 6301 Myrtle Avenue
- Thursday, November 12, 8:00AM – Noon, McBride Park/Cal Rec Center, 1550 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
No appointment is needed at any of the above clinics.
The city’s health department will accept appointments during regular business hours. A small administrative fee may apply. Adults with Medicare Part B or other insurance are urged to bring their Medicare/insurance card to their appointment. Parents should bring their children’s immunization records – some children will need two doses of the vaccine given one month apart depending on their immunization history.
To make an appointment, call 562.570.4315.
Most private providers have already received the flu vaccine and are making it available to patients, health officials stated. Some neighborhood pharmacies are providing low-cost flu vaccines to the public.
Residents can contact their regular doctor for information on getting the flu shot.
Health officials recommend that everyone practices the following healthy habits to prevent getting or transmitting the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home from work or school if you are sick
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Wash hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer frequently
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, take vitamins, get plenty of rest, do not smoke, and avoid alcoholic beverages.
The Health Department is also working with local hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and other healthcare providers to ensure that their staffs are vaccinated against the flu in order to protect patients.
For more information about the flu or upcoming clinics, call the Health Department’s Vaccination Information Line at 562.570.SHOT (7468) or visit www.longbeach.gov/health.
Above, left photo courtesy of Long Beach Health and Human Services.