It's Back: The Dreaded Flu Season
Local pharmacies are offering vaccinations that can help to minimize the risk of getting the virus.
While the start of fall usually means cooler temperatures, lower humidity and picturesque scenery, it also begins something that most, if not all of us, dread. It is the beginning of flu season.
“Flu season typically begins in the fall and ends in late spring,” said Mary Beth Baker, RN, employee health nurse with the West Penn Allegheny Health System. “People can get their flu vaccines as early as August but optimally in September or October. The vaccine will last one entire flu season.”
This year’s vaccine will protect against three strains of the flu as well as the H1N1 virus and is available at many of the local pharmacies.
Vaccination is the best form of prevention, Baker said.
"More than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized each year due to complications from the flu,” she said. “It is hard to determine just how many people develop the flu, however, as many do not report their illness or think that they have the flu but really do not.”
Children as young as 6 months old can be vaccinated in the form of a shot. After people recieve their first vaccination, they can then be vaccinated once a year, in the form of a shot for children ages 6-months to 8-years old or as a nasal spray in healthy women who are not pregnant or those individuals ages 2 to 49.
Local Flu-Shot Clinics:
- Flu shots are available at all Minute Clinics for $29.99; some insurance plans cover the cost. There is a $5 rebate for those who pay in cash. Insurance plans accepted include Aetna, Unison, Gateway, Cigna, TRICARE and more. No appointment is needed, though appointments are available.
- Flu shots are available at all Walgreens locations for $31.99, and most insurance plans cover them. No appointment is needed, but appointments are available. A certified immunizing pharmacist will administer the shot at the Cranberry location on Route 19. A nurse administers the immunizations at the Take Care Clinic inside the Walgreens at the Adams Shoppes on Route 228 in Adams Township.
- Giant Eagle Pharmacy is offering needleless flu shots as an option. The pharmacy accepts most insurance, including Medicare Part B, and will bill the vaccine for you if covered. Otherwise, the shot costs $25 and is available through March. Walk-ins or appointments are available. Click here for more information.
- Flu shots are available at all Rite Aid locations for $27.99, and most insurance plans cover them. No appointment is needed. Appointments are available.
- At the Walmart on Route 19 in Cranberry, the clinic accepts all insurance plans. The cost without insurance is $34.50. No appointments are necessary.
For more information about the flu vaccination or whom should be vaccinated, visit the CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu.