The Centers for Disease Control is urging people to act now, just before the October start of the 2018-19 flu season and get vaccinated.

Ready or not, it’s flu season again. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages everyone 6 months of age and older to get a flu vaccine.

“Now is the time to get vaccinated from the flu,” said Denise Dickens, R.N., MSN, Lake Regional Health System’s infection prevention specialist. “It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza, a serious respiratory virus that causes fever, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and fatigue.”

The Centers for Disease Control is urging people to act now, just before the October start of the 2018-19 flu season and get vaccinated. That advice comes even if you delayed a few months into the previous flu season and got vaccinated earlier this year.

According to the CDC, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter months. Influenza activity starts to pick up the pace in October and November. The peak of flu activity happens sometime between December and February, but it can last as late as May.

The 2017-18 flu season was one of the worst in recent years and there’s no way to predict if this season will be as severe as the last. 

“It is not possible to predict what this flu season will be like. While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one season to another,” according to the CDC.

The 2017-18 season was the first season to be classified as a high severity across all age groups. The influenza-like-illness activity ramped up in November, reached an extended period of high activity during January and February nationally, and remained elevated through the end of March, the CDC reported.

Lake Regional Health Systems, along with county health departments in the lake area are providing several options for those wanting to get the flu vaccine. 

The Miller, Morgan and Camden county health departments will be offering vaccines. 

To find out the schedule in your area call:

Camden County Health Department 573-346-5479

Miller County Health Department 573-369-2359

Lake Regional clinics, pharmacies provide flu shot

Lake Regional makes vaccination easy with several opportunities to get a flu shot.

At Lake Regional Primary Care Clinics

All eight Lake Regional primary care clinics — Camdenton, Eldon, Iberia, Lake Ozark, Laurie, Lebanon, Macks Creek and Osage Beach — provide flu shots for established patients during regular office hours. Scheduled appointments are preferred.

The clinics provide flu shots as a nurse visit. Children must be at least 12 years old or have prior approval from their primary care provider for a nurse-administered vaccination.

At Lake Regional Pharmacy

Lake Regional Pharmacy offers flu shots at each of its five locations: Camdenton, Eldon, Lake Ozark, Laurie and Osage Beach. The quadrivalent vaccine is $22; the high-dose trivalent vaccine is $60. Medicare and most insurance plans cover the cost. High-dose is recommended only for seniors 65 years and older. Children must be at least 12 years old to receive a pharmacy flu shot.

Lake Regional Pharmacy also will offer both flu vaccines at the Osage Beach Health Fair, scheduled from 7:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Elks Lodge, 5161 Osage Beach Parkway. The prices will be the same as in the pharmacies, and Medicare will be billed for eligible participants.

At Lake Regional Occupational Medicine

Lake Regional Occupational Medicine offers flu vaccination services for area employers. Businesses can send employees to either the Osage Beach or Lebanon clinic location. Flexible payment options are available, including direct bill, insurance billing and cash payments. Also, small businesses may use vouchers to send employees to the clinic. For more information, contact Occupational Medicine clinic manager Rachel Bailey at 573-348-8045.

Morgan County Health Center Flu Shots

10 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, October 5 at Ivy Bend Food Pantry, 41569 Ivy Bend Rd., Stover

1-4 p.m. Wednesday, October 10 at Stover Community Center

1-4 p.m. Monday, October 15 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 176 Marian Drive, Laurie

10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 16 at Versailles Nutrition Site, 308 Fairgrounds Rd.

8-10 a.m. Saturday, October 27 at Golden Beach Community Center, 26528 Golden Beach Rd., Barnett

Shots will also be given on a walk-in basis at the Morgan County Health Center, 104 W. Lafayette St., Versailles, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and on the last Saturday of the each month from 8 a.m.-noon. A wide variety of payment options are available. Adult self-pay cost for the regular dose flu vaccine is $30 and high dose for age 65-plus is $45.

Camden and Miller counties

Flu shots can be obtained at Camden and Miller county health departments.

Located 1976 N. Hwy 5, CCHD is open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Call (573) 346–5479 for more information.

The Miller County Health Center is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays with extended hours on Wednesdays to 7 p.m. The clinic located 2125 Hwy. 52, Tuscumbia. Call (573) 369-2359 for more information.

What viruses will the 2018-2019 flu vaccines protect against?

There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on vaccine) that research suggests will be most common. For 2018-2019, trivalent (three-component) vaccines are recommended to contain:

•A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus

•A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 A(H3N2)-like virus (updated)

•B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus (updated)

Quadrivalent (four-component) vaccines, which protect against a second lineage of B viruses, are recommended to contain:

•the three recommended viruses above, plus B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention