Health & Fitness

Will upcoming flu season be as deadly as last year? Clinic Saturday in west Modesto

The most dominant flu virus this season is called H3N2, and it’s been widely reported the seasonal flu vaccine offers little protection against it.
The most dominant flu virus this season is called H3N2, and it’s been widely reported the seasonal flu vaccine offers little protection against it. The Associated Press

So far, there is no indication the upcoming flu season will be nearly as severe as last year’s epidemic.

Stanislaus County health officials are gearing up for a new season that’s expected to peak between December and February.

With the 2017-18 flu season, outbreaks caused unprecedented levels of illness and hospitalization in California and resulted in 324 deaths in people age 64 and younger.

Thursday, the county public health division said the flu vaccines this year are a better match for the viruses expected to circulate through the population this winter. The vaccine targets H1N1 and H3N2 viruses and one other strain.

As an alternative to getting stuck with a needle, nasal spray vaccine is once again available. The nasal spray was discontinued for two years over concerns it was less effective.

The nasal spray is an option for most children and adults younger than 50 years old. It’s not recommended for older adults and children younger than 2 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People can ask their doctor what type of flu vaccine is right for them.

According to the CDC, people who have severe allergies to the flu vaccine or its ingredients should not be vaccinated.

People with health insurance can get a flu shot from their health care provider, and the vaccinations are available at pharmacies.

The county Health Services Agency has scheduled flu vaccination clinics at no cost for low-income residents. Vaccines will be administered at the clinics for anyone 6 months or older.

Saturday, a Modesto clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the King Kennedy Memorial Center, 601 S. Martin Luther King Drive.

Flu clinics are also set from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday and 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Ceres Unified School District, at 2503 Lawrence St.

County public health has an immunization clinic at 820 Scenic Drive in Modesto, where flu vaccinations are available. The county clinic charges a $25 fee, but no one is turned away for inability to pay.

The immunization clinic accepts walk-in patients from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; appointments can be made from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. Call 209-558-7700 to schedule an appointment.

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