By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Get those flu shots
Placeholder Image
According to County Health Services Agency officials this year's flu season has been mild thus far, but it's still early. Even though the county's immunization clinics have come to an end, there's still time to protect yourself from coming down with the flu by paying a visit to the HSA drop-in clinic in Modesto or by calling your primary care provider.

"It's not too late to vaccinate," said Nancy Fisher, Health Nursing Director with HSA. "January is still a prime time."

February and March are the main months for influenza outbreaks. While doctors have yet to determine how bad this year's flu will be, the vaccine was formulated to target three entirely different strains from last year in hopes of inoculating citizens against the most dangerous variants.

All citizens have the option of receiving the standard shot, while those aged 2 to 49 can opt for FluMist, a gentle mist sprayed into the nose that contains the same vaccine as a shot with the same effectiveness.

HSA's Public Health Clinic is open for drop-in vaccinations 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays. Most primary care providers should also have the flu vaccine available, so call your doctor and check.

Regardless of whether you receive a flu vaccination this year or not, there are a few simple tips to follow that can greatly reduce the likelihood of contracting influenza.

"We encourage people to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand cleaners," Fisher said. "Also, cover your coughs, using your arm or sleeve instead of your hands. That way you don't go and touch things and spread the disease."

If you do contract the flu this winter, HSA strongly advises against going directly into an emergency room.

"First of all you should contact your own physician by phone rather than go in to an emergency room or an urgent care because you can spread the infection," Fisher said. "You should be most concerned if you have a high fever or a long-term cough. Flus come with fever and muscle aches which can be treated with Tylenol, but you should contact your health care provider if you think you have the flu."