Flu season is here.
“The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October,” the CDC states on its website. “Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.”
According to the Maricopa County Health Department, the flu virus often leads to high hospitalization rates in the winter months and puts stress on the healthcare system, especially with COVID-19 circulating in communities.
The body takes two weeks to develop antibodies, so it is important to get a vaccination before flu is circulating widely in Maricopa County. Getting the vaccine lowers the chance of getting the flu and passing it to others, including those who are at higher risk for severe symptoms.
For those who do get the flu when after having had the flu vaccine, it tends to be milder and with less of a chance to be hospitalized.
Those with insurance should check with their health care provider or locate a nearby flu shot clinic by visiting vaccinefinder.org/find-vaccine.
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health operates three childhood immunization clinics for children up to their 19th birthday. Immunizations are provided free of charge. Vaccines are also available for uninsured or under-insured adults at the clinics. Call the clinic ahead of time to check on vaccine availability. Vaccines for foreign travel are not available at the clinics.
Closest to the West Valley is the West Clinic at 1850 N. 95th Ave., Suite 184, in Phoenix. Call 602-506-5888 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Those uninsured or underinsured can locate dozens of community events where adults and children can receive a free flu shot. These free events are open to all in the community, including those with insurance. Visit maricopa.gov/1873/Influenza-Flu.
Other places to get the flu vaccine: