Be Ready for Flu Season – Get Your Flu Shot!

It looks like 2019-2020 is going to be a tough flu season. The best way you can be prepared and stay healthy is to get your flu shot early!

There's more to fall than the start of school, pretty leaves and pumpkin spice. Fall actually is the best time to get vaccinated for the upcoming flu season.

Margie Kochsmier, MSN, RN, CMSRN, FHN Infection Control
Two years ago, H3N2 was the strain we saw most often and the media told people 'the flu shot wasn't effective'.

Many people decided not to get vaccinated because they thought it wouldn't help. That year, we saw an increase in pediatric deaths, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that more than 80 percent of those deaths were in unvaccinated children.

I've heard people say, 'it's too early to take the flu shot'. It takes two weeks to get protection after vaccination and we want to be protected early.
  – Margie Kochsmier, MSN, RN, CMSRN, FHN Infection Control

That early protection is even more important this year, Margie says.

"Because we're just the opposite season-wise, our flu season is a pretty good reflection of the Southern hemisphere, which typically sees flu cases start in April or May and ends in June and July. This year, however, they saw cases as early as March, and they saw three times the normal number of flu cases," Margie says.

Plus, the strain circulating was the A strain H3N2, which changes often, making it difficult to perfect the vaccine. When H3N2 is the predicted strain, the flu season usually starts earlier and makes more people sick.

That shouldn't deter you from getting a flu shot this year – in fact, it makes it even more important.

One of the easiest ways to get your flu shot – FHN's flu shot clinics – will begin in early October. These flu shot clinics are open to all adults. (For their safety, we recommend that children get their flu shot at their regular healthcare provider's office.)

FHN 2019 Flu Shot Clinics

131 – 3 p.m.Sullivan's Foods, 101 E. Highway 64, Mount Morris
229 a.m. – noonCarroll County Senior Center, 306 N. Main Street, Mount Carroll
29 a.m. – noonCarroll County Senior Center, 306 N. Main Street, Mount Carroll

Indicates a site with a free blood pressure screening at the flu shot clinic site. Blood pressure screenings are available to anyone free of charge.
  * Indicates a site that is part of a Parkinson's Support Group meeting.

As in past years, this year's flu shot is designed to protect you against 4 different strains of influenza. At the flu shot clinics listed here, adults will pay $28.

Persons over the age of 65 receive a high dose version for extra protection, which costs $62. (Please note these prices are only available at these clinics; other rates may apply at your provider's office.)

There is no out-of-pocket expense if you are covered by Medicare Part B (please present Medicare card) or a Medicare HMO covered by FHN (there is a list available at each location). Covered persons MUST present the Medicare HMO card instead of the Medicare card for the billing process.

Immunizations may be paid for by cash or check payable to FHN. No other insurance coverage can be accepted at these locations, and per government regulations, no MEDICAID cards can be accepted at these clinics.

You can also get your flu shot at your healthcare provider's office. Just give the office a call to make an appointment. If you have questions about the flu vaccine, please contact your healthcare provider's office.

You should not get your flu shot at these clinics if you:

You must present a photo ID to receive an immunization.

For more information, call FHN Community Services at 815-599-7437.

Listen to Margie Kochsmier, MSN, RN, CMSRN, FHN Infection Control, discuss what you can to do prevent and treat the seasonal flu on Dial-a-Doc.

Download PDF version of the schedule.

See our article in Insight Magazine.