Prepare for flu season

Contact Reporterhbridges@vagazette.com

When it comes to flu vaccinations, earlier is better.

Though flu season in the United States usually peaks between December and February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting vaccinated by October, if possible.

The Virginia Department of Health and CDC suggests everyone six months of age and older receive a flu vaccination each year.

The vaccination is crucial for individuals at high risk of serious complications from the flu. Those at high risk include adults age 65 years and older, young children, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions.

For the 2015-2016 flu season, manufacturers project providing between 171 to 179 million doses of the vaccine in the United States, according to CDC.

A vaccination by October is recommended, to ensure protection before peak season. Even so, it's not too late for a vaccination during flu season. Keep in mind it takes approximately two weeks for the vaccination to take effect.

Riverside Doctors' Hospital Williamsburg will offer free flu shots from 7:30-10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29 in the hospital lobby at 1500 Commonwealth Avenue, Williamsburg.

For adults over age 18, the flu shots will be available to walk-ins on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last. No appointments can be made.

Riverside will offer both the high-dose vaccine, for adults 65 and older, and the intradermal vaccine, for adults between ages 18 and 65.

For those with Medicare, one flu shot per flu season is normally covered by Medicare Part B, according to Medicare.gov.

Flu vaccinations will be available at the Live Well Expo from 8:30 a.m. to noon, on Friday, Nov. 6 at the James City County Recreation Center, 5301 Longhill Road, Williamsburg. The expo is organized by James City County in partnership with the Peninsula Agency on Aging, Sentara, Riverside and Olde Towne Medical Center.

In addition to vaccinations, the expo also offers free preventive screenings and information about senior services available to the community.

Generally, flu vaccines are also offered at doctors' offices, pharmacies, grocery stores and health departments.

In Williamsburg, participating locations of Target, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Harris Teeter offer flu shots. To find the nearest vaccination site, visit flushot.healthmap.org.

For more information, visit cdc.gov/flu.

Bridges can be reached at 757-275-4934.

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