Local and area residents will have the opportunity to take the first step to preventing influenza at St. Rose Health Center’s drive-through, flu-shot clinic.
The event is scheduled for 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 17 at the parking lot on Forest Ave., just south of St. Rose. Lincoln and Grant streets border the lot on the east and west, respectively.
The flu shots are free; 400 doses are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Kristin Ohnmacht, physician assistant at St. Rose Family Medicine, strongly encourages the vaccination.
“The best way to prevent the flu is getting a vaccination each year,” Ohnmacht said. “It is the single most effective way to prevent it.
Other recommendations are practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding contact with others who have been diagnosed with influenza.”
Anyone 6 months of age or older can receive the flu vaccination. However, at the drive-up clinic, St. Rose nurses will vaccinate only those 18 and older. Younger patients are encouraged to get a vaccination from their medical provider.
Signs and symptoms of the flu include fever or feeling feverish, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.
“If you start experiencing these symptoms, you should see your primary-care provider as soon as possible,” Ohnmacht commented. “Antiviral agents are most effective when initiated within the first 48 hours of being symptomatic.
“Antiviral medications, such as Tamiflu, can lessen the severity of the symptoms and shorten the duration of the flu,” she added.
Influenza poses a greater risk in certain patient populations, the physician assistant noted. These include pregnant women, children and the elderly. The flu usually peaks in January or February but can occur as early as October and as late as May.
Ohnmacht also pointed out that the vaccination doesn’t cause the flu. “But you can experience mild side effects from the shot,” she acknowledged. “These include mild fever, body aches and/or soreness/swelling at the injection site. These symptoms are likely to go away within a couple of days.”
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends receiving an annual flu vaccination.
St. Rose specializes in primary care, prevention and wellness. Services include St. Rose Family Medicine, Convenient Care Walk-in Clinic, Great Bend Internists, imaging, infusion clinic, WellnessWorks, one-day surgical procedures, Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice and a comprehensive Specialty Clinic. St. Rose is co-owned by Hays Medical Center and Centura Health.