Rappahannock Area Health District offers free flu shots at State Fair
The Virginia Department of Health’s Rappahannock Area Health District will offer free flu shots on Saturday, Sept. 28, beginning at 10 a.m. during the State Fair of Virginia at the Meadow Event Park. The VDH uses these events as exercises to determine our readiness to respond in a pandemic flu emergency. This flu shot exercise will take place in the Farm Bureau Center Exhibition Hall on Festival Loop. Only 400 doses of vaccine will be available, and will be offered to anyone 12 years and older on a first-come, first-served basis, until 7 p.m. or until the supply of flu shots runs out.
Influenza, or “the flu,” is a highly-contagious respiratory disease. Typical flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and fatigue.
“Everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated for influenza annually,” said Rappahannock Area Health District Director Brooke Rossheim, M.D., M.P.H. “Vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and its potentially severe complications, and this on-site exercise offers a fast and efficient way to vaccinate a large number of people in a short time.”
The vaccination is especially important for people at higher risk of complications from the flu. These groups include:
- Pregnant and postpartum women, or those who will be pregnant during the influenza season;
- Persons over 65 years of age, including residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities;
- People who have chronic lung or heart problems, including asthma; and
- People who have other serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, anemia, cancer, weak immune systems (including those with HIV) or a seizure disorder.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9.3 million – 49.0 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 960,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 – 79,000 deaths annually since 2010.
To minimize your risk of catching the flu and passing it on to others, follow these simple steps:
- Get a flu shot each year
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds
- Cover your cough by using a disposable tissue or coughing into your sleeve, not your hand
- Stay home when you are sick
For more information, call the Rappahannock Area Health District at 540-899-4797 or visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/influenza-flu-in-virginia/.