Prepare now for flu season

Contact Reporterhbridges@vagazette.com

It's that time of year again—time to get flu shots, if you haven't already.

The Peninsula Health District's community health nurse supervisor Yasmine Harris said there have been no reported cases of the flu in the area. Nor has any flu activity been reported in Virginia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flu activity usually peaks between December and March, Harris said, but the season can stretch as far as October through May. The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get vaccinated by October's end. Later is okay, the CDC states, though it's best not to wait. The vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective.

The CDC indicates more than 127 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed.

For the 2016 to 2017 season, there's some new information to keep in mind.

"There are only injectable shots being offered. No more mist," Harris said, referring to the nasal spray vaccine. "For efficacy, the shots are better for the population. And it has been updated to better match the circulating viruses that we have."

According to the CDC, the upcoming season's vaccine combats viruses researched to be the most common this season, including influenza A (H1N1), influenza A (H3N2) and one to two influenza B viruses depending on the vaccine.

"I just think that everybody should be vaccinated to protect themselves and protect those around them from the flu," Harris said.

The Peninsula Health District, located in Newport News, offers vaccinations, as do several doctor's offices, urgent care clinics and pharmacies.

According to HealthMap Vaccine Finder (vaccinefinder.org), here are locations in Williamsburg offering flu vaccines.

•The Rite Aids located at 1303 Jamestown Road #11 (757-220-1355), 701 Merrimac Trail (757-229-0131), 5601 B Richmond Road (757-565-6407), 4501 News Road (757-220-1287) and 4511 John Tyler Highway, Suite K (757-253-8003).

•Walgreens located at 1309 Richmond Road. Call 757-229-0962.

•The Kmart Pharmacy located at 118 Waller Mill Road. Call 757-220-2394.

•The CVS Pharmacies located at 7529 Richmond Road (757-259-7892), 700 Merrimac Trail (757-258-4450), 1187 Jamestown Road (757-564-1005) and 1600 Richmond Road (757-229-0015).

•The Harris Teeter located at 1470 Quarterpath Road. Call 757-253-0385.

•Olde Towne Pharmacy located at 4854 Longhill Road. Call 757-220-8764.

For more information, visit cdc.gov/flu.

Bridges can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.

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