September 23, 2013

(Staunton, Va.) — The Central Shenandoah Health District will offer free seasonal flu vaccine to everyone ages 3 and up, at a drive-thru flu clinic on Friday, Oct. 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The clinic will be held in the parking lot of the Ashwood Parks and Recreation site (near Valley Elementary School), 65 Panther Dr. in Hot Springs, Va. Vaccine is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Those under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

“Take time to get a flu shot,” said Douglas Larsen, M.D., director of the Central Shenandoah Health District. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.”

Flu vaccine is safe. “A flu shot does not give you the flu,” said Dr. Larsen. “Instead, the vaccine stimulates the immune system to protect you against the flu.”

“This clinic gives us the opportunity to practice our emergency dispensing plans, and helps us prepare for situations that require us to give medicine or vaccine to many people in a short period of time,” said Michael Keatts, emergency planner for the Central Shenandoah Health District.

You can take other precautions during flu season, which usually peaks in January and February. In addition to getting vaccinated, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue away. Wash your hands often with soap and water if available, or use an alcohol-based hand rub. Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid close contact with sick people. If you are sick, stay home until you are fever-free – without fever-reducing medications – for at least 24 hours. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them, to lessen symptoms and speed your recovery.

Dr. Larsen emphasizes that “flu is a serious, contagious and unpredictable disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever. So the best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get vaccinated.”

For more information, call the Bath County Health Department at 540-839-7246 or visit