Get ahead of the flu this season

Published 7:13 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Every year, hundreds of people are affected by influenza. Influenza, or the flu, is a highly contagious respiratory illness that is caused by the influenza virus. The influenza virus spreads quickly. If you have the flu, you may be contagious before you know you are sick.

This common virus infection can be deadly, especially in high-risk individuals. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine every year. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the 2017-2018 flu season peaked at its highest since the 2009 flu pandemic. Last year’s flu season was also considered one of the longest flu seasons in recent years.

Flu season activity usually is greater in January and February every year, however, it is best to get vaccinated as early as possible to boost your immune system and prevent the flu. We must get vaccinated not only to protect ourselves, but also the people around us. Children, elderly and individuals with a current health condition (i.e. weakened immune system, cancer, autoimmune diseases, etc.), are at higher risk of acquiring the flu and suffering complications from it. We encourage you and your loved ones to get vaccinated, and help us beat this upcoming flu season together.

The Beaufort County Health Department is hosting a Point of Dispensing event to test the effectiveness of our emergency response in Beaufort County, and we welcome everyone to participate. The event will be held at Beaufort County Community College in Building 10 on Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and is open for everyone and anyone.  Flu shots will be given to anyone interested in receiving vaccination to protect themselves during this flu season. The health department will be filing reimbursement claims for those covered by insurance. For all others, flu shots will be offered at a cost of $35 regular dose, or $65 for the high dose.  If anyone wishes to experience the exercise but not receive a flu shot, you are welcome to come through as well. In addition to the POD event, the health department will offer a walk-in clinic for flu shots at the Beaufort County Health Department starting Oct. 4 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.

If you are currently experiencing flu-like symptoms, we advise you to get tested for the flu. Unfortunately, influenza vaccines are only effective as a prevention method prior to getting the flu. The most effective way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated annually and to take measures to prevent the spread of the virus such as washing your hands. We care about the health and well-being of every resident at Beaufort County. This is why we encourage everyone to be prepared to beat the flu and get vaccinated prior to this upcoming flu season.

For more information, please visit or call 252-946-1902.

JaNell Lewis is a human services planner IV/preparedness coordinator at Beaufort County Health Department.