The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released an official health advisory update which states there has been a noticeable increase in the influenza A (H3N2) activity with occurrences resulting in hospitalizations and deaths, particularly among young children and those age 65 and older. However, everyone is susceptible. Sharp Coronado Hospital Lead Pharmacist, Marwah Desoky, was adamant in saying “Everybody needs to be vaccinated. If you can do something to help prevent getting the flu, wouldn’t you do it?” It was very clear, she and her colleagues, as well as the CDC and the Health & Human Services Agency, are very serious about the importance of everyone getting the flu shot. Sharp Coronado Hospital Pharmacy, Walgreens, and RiteAid currently have a supply of both the tri and quad strain vaccination.
Who wants to get the flu? No one. Who is excited to get a flu shot? Certainly not me. In fact, I have never gotten a flu shot until now much to the horror of Desoky. Her immediate response during our interview was “What?! You have children”. Yes, and they’ve never had one either. I had questions about the vaccine and she had answers; most importantly, “No, the vaccine does not have a live strain. It is not going to give you the flu.” Desoky explained that a low-grade fever is a side effect in only 1-2% of the those vaccinated; these tiny percentages are still only side effects, it is not the flu from the vaccine. Soreness at the injection site is all that most people experience and it is possible you may spike a fever. You will be advised of all the possible side effects when the shot is administered. RiteAid pharmacy manager, Arash Kohan, stressed getting the flu shot not only protects you but everyone with whom you interact.
Important things to know about the vaccination:
It takes two weeks for it to protect you. If you are exposed to someone before or during the two weeks following your injection, you are likely to get the flu.
In most cases, with insurance, there is no co-pay, including TriCare. Cash pay for the shot ranges in price from $31.99 for the regular vaccine and up to $65.99 for the high dose (which is necessary for those over 65). Cost varies at each location listed below. All locations currently have the tri-strain vaccine available.
Each time you get the flu shot it changes your genetic composition which is why you have to get one each year, unlike other vaccinations.
Getting the shot does not guarantee you will not get the flu, but it does reduce your chances. It does awaken the body’s immune system and you are likely to experience less severe symptoms with a shortened duration.
The flu shot can be given to anyone over the age of six months, however, at Sharp as well as Walgreens and RiteAid (also administering the shots), vaccinations will be given only to ages 5 years and above. Younger children will need to see a physician.
Appointments are not necessary at any of the aforementioned locations. For hours and availability, best to call ahead (phone numbers and addresses at conclusion of article).
Is it the flu? Be on the lookout for these symptoms:
Fever at or over 100° F or 37.8° C with a cough and/or a sore throat and body aches. If you or your children exhibit symptoms, stay at home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to see a physician.
The CDC recommends these preventative measures to avoid the flu:
- Get a flu shot
- Follow daily preventative actions – wash hands with soap and water, avoid contact with sick people, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- more at www.cdc.gov/flu
If you get the flu, see a doctor for an anti-viral prescription such as Tamiflu within 48 hours of symptoms (Tamiflu currently has limited, if any, availability due to doctors prescribing it as a preventative measure which has depleted the supply for those who have the flu). Be sure to call your pharmacy before taking your prescription in the event they are out of stock.
All of the pharmacies listed below, in Coronado, are walk-in, no appointment needed.
Sharp Coronado Hospital Pharmacy: 619-522-3996 230 Prospect Place, Suite 110
Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-4pm
Walgreens Pharmacy: 619-435-6354 925 Orange Ave
Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-9pm, Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday 10am-6pm
RiteAid Pharmacy: 619-435-6585 836 Orange Ave
Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-10pm, Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday 10am-6pm
Bottom line, for your protection and that of others, it seems like getting a flu shot is the best idea. I got my first one ever.