Protect yourself against influenza during the year's busiest travel season

JACKSON COUNTY, IL (Heartland News at 9) -

The busiest travel season of the year is upon us and the Jackson County Health Department wants to remind you to protect yourself from influenza.

Health officials said if you take time to get your flu shot now, you will be protected as you go into the holiday season.

You aren't the only one that will benefit from a flu shot, getting vaccinated yourself also protects people around you.

That includes those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people and people with certain chronic health conditions. Flu shots are recommended for everyone age 6 months and up.

It is recommended that people get vaccinated at least two weeks before travel because it takes time for immunity to develop after vaccination.

Southern Illinois is seeing sporadic cases throughout the area.

The flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with the flu and reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization, complications, and death. N

No appointment is needed to get a flu shot at the Jackson County Health Department, Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at 415 Health Department Road, Murphysboro, Illinois. The vaccination is free for people with Medicare Part B, Medicaid, State employees, and State retirees upon presentation of their insurance cards. The deadline to receive flu vaccine through the State of Illinois employee contract is November 15.

The health department will also accept most insurance coverage including: Health Link, Health Alliance, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Coventry, and Humana (please bring your insurance card). All standard dose flu vaccine formulations are $43.

High-dose flu vaccination is available for patients aged 65 years and older. The cost is $73 and it is covered by Medicare B.

Cash or check can be used to pay vaccination fees can also be paid (debit or credit cards accepted only at the health department location).

Health officials warn that if you are sick with symptoms of influenza-like illness, you should not travel.

These symptoms include:

• fever

• cough

• sore throat

• runny or stuffy nose

• muscle or body aches

• headache

• fatigue

If you are sick, stay home until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever* or signs of a fever without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol®. For more information, check our website at or call 684-3143, ext. 150.

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