Flu Shots: No Appointment Necessary
Posted at: 10/08/2012 1:56 PM
| Updated at: 10/08/2012 10:46 PM
By: Brittany Falkers
It's that time of year again and as the temperatures drop fevers start to rise. Flu season is right around the corner and organizations in the Northland are making it easier than ever to get your flu shot this year.
In an average season, one in five Americans gets the flu and more than 225,000 people are hospitalized, according The Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
For moms like Jennifer Geving the flu is nothing to joke about. "Lids get sick and they tend to pick up a lot of germs. Then you get sick and it's just not a pleasant feeling," she said.
Geving got her flu shot on Monday and says it is well worth it to keep her family healthy. "Last year I got one for the fist time and didn't get sick at all. So, I said, we're doing this again."
With 135 million doses of this year's flu vaccine, there is plenty to go around. That's why Essentia Health is making it easier to get one, no appointment necessary.
"The vaccine is highly effective, it's really the only tool we have in our arsenal presently," Cindi Welch, Manager of Infection Prevention at Essentia Health, said.
For high-risk patients, such as the elderly and very young, getting the flu can mean a lot more than needing a few sick days.
"They can end up in hospital stays, it can end up in severe pneumonia, and even death. About 36,000 people die every year of complications of influenza," Welch said.
The flu shot is recommended for virtually everyone older than six-months of age, but federal health authorities say just 42 percent of American's were immunized last year.
"People should take flu immunizations very seriously. It's a very easy intervention to protect yourself, your co-workers, your family members, and other vulnerable individuals from getting other life threatening complications of influenza," Welch said.
This year's vaccine contains protection against two different strains, according to federal health authorities. And just because the flu was mild last winter, doesn't mean it won't bounce back this winter.
Essentia Health will offer flu shots without an appointment at the First Street Building on the downtown Duluth campus, 420 E. First St.
The flu booths will be open Oct. 8 - 12 and Oct. 15-19. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays. On Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays the booths will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The booths will also be open on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. until noon.
The Essentia Health-Lakewalk Clinic and neighborhood clinics in Hermantown, Lakeside, Proctor, West Duluth, and Superior will have the same flu shot hours during the next two weeks. However, these clinics will not be open Saturday, Oct. 13.
For the full schedule of regional flu clinics, visit www.EssentiaHealth.org.
St. Luke's will hold its community flu shot clinics Wednesday, Oct. 10 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The clinics will be at three different locations: Denfeld Medical Clinic, Mariner Medical Clinic, and Miller Creek Medical Clinic. No appointment is necessary and the cost is just $25 dollars.