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Taking aim at seasonal flu

Flu shots will be administered at the SCV Senior Center Oct. 2

Posted: September 13, 2009 9:55 p.m.
Updated: September 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Los Angeles County Public Health Nurse Ana Garcia administers a flu shot to Jo Anne Darcy, former mayor, city councilwoman and longtime SCVSC advocate, during the November 2008 flu shot clinic held at the Senior Center. Presented through the County of Los Angeles Dept. of Public Health, the upcoming Oct. 2 outreach clinic at the Senior Center wi...

 
Free flu shots will be administered on Friday, Oct. 2, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, located at 22900 Market St. in Newhall.

Presented through the County of Los Angeles Dept. of Public Health, the outreach clinic will provide vaccines against the seasonal flu - not the H1N1 (swine) flu.

This event is one of numerous free LA County flu vaccine clinics being held regionally during September and October.

A highly contagious virus affecting the nose, throat, and lungs, seasonal influenza (flu) can make a person sick for a week or longer with coughing, fever, fatigue, aching, and other symptoms.

For 200,000 flu victims each year, hospitalization ensues and is often associated with pneumonia.

For about 36,000 Americans annually, the flu is fatal.

Due to current Los Angeles County budget constraints - which affect availability of public health nurses for administering the flu shots - the Senior Center requests that any local licensed nurses proficient at inoculations consider volunteering their services at the SCVSC flu shot clinic.

While public health nurses will be on site dispensing flu shots, several more nurses are needed.

Volunteers are also needed that day at the Senior Center to help with registration, crowd flow, refreshments, etc.

In addition to the Oct. 2 SCV Senior Center flu shot clinic, the County of Los Angeles Public Health will also provide free flu vaccination outreach clinics on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Val Verde Park, 30300 Arlington St., Val Verde, 91384.

Who should get shots
The County of Los Angeles Dept. of Public Health's Immunization program - which strives to improve immunization coverage levels and prevent vaccine-preventable diseases - strongly recommends seasonal flu shots for:
n All adults 50 years of age and older;
n Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season;
n All children six-months through 18 years of age;
n Persons who have chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, hematological or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus);
n Persons who have any condition (e.g., cognitive dysfunction, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders, or other neuromuscular disorders) that can compromise respiratory function or the handling of respiratory secretions or that can increase the risk for aspiration;
n Persons who have immunosuppression (including that caused by medications or by human immunodeficiency virus);
n Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities;
n Household contacts and caregivers of children less than 5 years of age and adults 50 years and older, with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children less than six months of age;
n Household contacts and caregivers of persons with medical conditions that put them at high risk for severe complications from influenza;
n Health care workers (Note: Health care workers are first encouraged to seek flu vaccination from their primary health care provider in order to keep vaccine available for the other high-risk groups.)

Flu vaccine facts
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine, like any medicine, carries a possibility for side effects and serious problems, including severe allergic reactions.

The risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, however, is extremely small.

The viruses in inactivated influenza vaccine have been killed, so you cannot get influenza from the vaccine.

Mild problems from the flu vaccine may include: Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given; hoarseness; sore or red eyes; cough; itchiness; fever; body aches.

If these symptoms occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last one to two days.

Life-threatening allergic reactions from vaccines are very rare.

If they do occur, it is usually within a few minutes to a few hours after the injection.

Seasonal flu vaccines will be available for anyone without contraindications to the vaccine. Contact your physician before getting a flu shot if you have: An allergy to chicken eggs; a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome; a moderate to severe illness with fever; or a history of having a severe reaction to prior-received flu shots.

For information about the SCV Senior Center flu shot clinic or to volunteer, contact Diana Sevanian, R.N., SCVSC Health & Wellness Director at (661) 255-1588 ext. 138. For information about L.A. County-provided flu shot clinics (800) 427-8700 or visit www.lapublichealth.org. You will also find pertinent information about H1N1 (swine) flu at that Web site.

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