Seasonal influenza, also known as the flu, is an illness that causes fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. It is usually spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing. Flu season in Ohio can begin as early as October and run as late as March. However, it is not uncommon for sporadic cases to appear all year long.
Most people who get the flu usually recover in one to two weeks, but the flu can be deadly. An estimated 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu each year in the U.S. On average, it is estimated that there are more than 20,000 flu-related deaths. Not all of these deaths are directly related to the flu but many are – and possibly could be prevented with a flu vaccine.
Flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that experts predict will be the most common during the upcoming season. Three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today: Influenza A (H1N1) viruses, influenza A (H3N2) viruses, and influenza B viruses. Each year, these viruses are used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine.
Who Should Get a Flu Shot?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine experts are again this year recommending that everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine.
While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, the CDC notes it’s especially important that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:
- Pregnant women
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- People 65 years of age and older
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
- Household contacts and caregivers of children younger than 5 years of age with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children younger than 6 months of age (children younger than 6 months are at highest risk of flu-related complications but are too young to get vaccinated)
- Health care workers
Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
How to Get a Flu Shot at a Mahoning County Public Health Clinic:
- We bill insurance – Bring insurance cards, driver’s license, Medicaid and Medicare cards so the cost of the vaccine can be billed; most private insurances are accepted. With proof of insurance the flu vaccine is free.
- Mahoning County Public Health is a Vaccines for Children Program Provider and will have limited opportunities for children that are uninsured or underinsured to receive the vaccine free of charge.
Available flu vaccines:
- Ages 6 months and up – Quadrivalent (4 flu virus strains)
- Ages 65 years and older -High dose trivalent (3 flu virus strains)
Influenza Surveillance Reports:
- Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report
- Mahoning County Flu Season Surveillance 2018-2019 Final Report
- Mahoning County Flu Season Surveillance 2017-2018 Final Report
- Mahoning County Flu Season Surveillance 2016-2017 Final Report
- Mahoning County Flu Season Surveillance 2015-2016 Final Report