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Palomar Health organizing flu shot clinics


October 01, 2013
Flu season is here. Last year was one of the deadliest on recent record for influenza in San Diego County, so health officials are encouraging everyone to protect themselves and their families by getting a flu shot right away.

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Valley Roadrunner reporter Michael Crane dropped by the Palomar Health Flu Clinic at Lilac Elementary on Monday to get his flu shot. "It took less than five minutes of my time," said Crane. "The nurses were very kind and it was well worth the time to avoid getting sick." Photo courtesy of Luanne Arangio-Law
Palomar Health will be holding several flu clinics in Valley Center over the coming months. The first of these was held at Lilac Elementary School on Sept. 30, where medical professionals administered flu shots to anyone who felt like stopping by.

"It changes every year, and that's why it's important to get a shot every year," said Jennifer Arneson, a registered nurse. "We just want to keep our community safe and healthy."

The clinics are for patients ages 9 and older, and the cost of each shot is $20. Most insurance plans will cover that cost, and Palomar Health also has free shots available for those facing financial hardship.

The next clinic will be at the Valley Center Library on Oct. 8 from 4-7 p.m., and shots there will be free for everyone. St. Stephens Catholic Church and Valley Center Elementary School will also be hosting clinics in November and December, but those clinics will require the $20 fee.

Luanne Arangio-Law, a registered nurse and flu clinic supervisor, strongly advises people of all ages to get the flu shot. "You want to be prepared," she said. "If you don't like needles, you could get the nasal spray." There are many ways to protect yourself, but you should discuss all the options with your physician.

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Upcoming Flu Clinics by Palomar Health

Valley Center Library (free):

-Oct. 8, 4-7 p.m.

-Nov. 25, 12-3 p.m.

St. Stephens Catholic Church:

-Nov. 17, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.

-Nov. 23, 8–11 a.m.

-Dec. 14, 8-11 a.m.

Valley Center Elementary School:

-Dec. 3, 5:30-7 p.m.

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Although the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) advises that everyone older than six months get a flu shot, there are some groups of people for whom it is especially essential. Pregnant women, people 65 years or older, or people with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and lung disease should plan on getting a flu shot every year. If you live with or care for others facing a higher risk, it's also important to get a flu shot, according to HHSA.

Many people worry that they will get sick from getting the shot itself, but Arangio-Law assures her patients that it is safe and effective.

"It's scientifically impossible to get the flu from the flu shot," she said. With several confirmed cases of the flu already this year, there's never been a better time to get the vaccine.

For a complete list of flu clinics in the area, or for more information on the flu shot, please visit www.palomarhealth.org/flu.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said a flu shot clinic would be held Oct. 7, in fact the clinic will be held Oct. 8.

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Karen Bates