Getting influenza (flu) shots is the most important step in protecting you and your children against catching the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As such, CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a seasonal flu shot. The seasonal flu vaccine available for the 2012-2013 flu season offers protection against three flu viruses...
- A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
- A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus
- B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus (from the B/Yamagata lineage of viruses)
Types of Flu Shots
There are three types of flu shots being administered. The right one for any particular individual is determined primarily by age and health condition. The nasal-spray flu vaccine is an alternative for healthy people ages 2 to 49 years and not pregnant.
Learn more about the seasonal flu vaccine from the CDC "Preventing Seasonal Flu With Vaccination" web page.
Who Should Get a Seasonal Flu Shot?
Influenza is not a benign disease. In the U.S., over 200,000 people a year are hospitalized because of seasonal flu and thousands of people die from it. CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated as soon as the seasonal vaccine is available. It takes about two weeks after a vaccination for the immune response to develop. The seasonal vaccine for 2012-2013 affords approximately a years' protection against the three virus strains listed above.
Certain people have been identified by CDC as those who should be vaccinated every year because they are at high risk for serious seasonal flu complications or care for such people:
- Children under 5 years old, and especially those under 2 year old.
- Pregnant women (any stage of pregnancy).
- People 65 years of age and older.
- American Indians and Alaskan Natives, who seem to be at higher risk of flu complications.
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions:
- Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability (mental retardation), moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury.
- Chronic lung disease, such as COPD and cyctic fibrosis.
- Heart disease.
- Blood disorders.
- Endocrine disorders.
- Kidney disorders.
- Liver disorders.
- Metabolic disorders.
- Weakened immune system due to disease or medication.
- People who are morbidly obese.
- People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy.
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
- Health care workers.
- Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu.
- Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (children too young to be vaccinated).
Refer to "Information for Specific Groups" to learn more about who is at especially high risk for complications from the flu.
Washoe County and State of Nevada Flu Information
Both of these government entities have set up websites to help Nevadans deal with health hazards inherent with seasonal flu. The State of Nevada site in particular has a wealth of information to keep citizens informed and help dispel fear caused by misinformation.
Where to Get Seasonal Flu Shots
Washoe County District Health Immunization Clinic - 1001 East Ninth Street, Building B, Reno. Clinics for both children and adults are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and require an appointment. Clinic hours are 8 a.m. to 12 noon, and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call (775) 328-2402 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (closed noon to 1 p.m.). Appointments can be made up to a week in advance. Walk-ins may be accommodated depending on appointment openings.
St. Mary's Regional Medical Center - Flu vaccinations through St. Mary's are available at two locations of The Clinic at Walmart. One is at 5065 Pyramid Highway in Spanish Springs / Sparks, (775) 770-7664. The other is in Reno at 4855 Kietzke Lane, (775) 770-7664.
Renown Health - Flu shots are being offered at various locations throughout the area. Get the details at Flu Shot Information or call (775) 982-5757.
Other Places to get Flu Shots - In addition to those listed above, you can find a clinic near you with the HealthMap Vaccine Finder. This tool is easy to use and updated frequently. I tried it and found several flu vaccination clinics near my home in Reno. Common locations are drug stores and pharmacies (Walgreens, CVS, Target, Safeway), and urgent care facilities. Prices vary - if you are paying cash, you might save a few bucks by shopping around.
Vaccines for Children (VFC) - This is a federal program that provides immunizations to children without insurance or whose parents can't afford the cost. There are many healthcare providers in the Reno area and throughout Nevada offering the VFC program. Use this list of providers to find a provider in your area.
Flu Shots for the Homebound
If you live in the Reno / Sparks area and cannot get out due to illness or disability, the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA) will come to you with seasonal flu and pneumonia shots. To schedule an appointment or for more information, call REMSA at (775) 858-5741.
Where to Get Seasonal Flu Shots in the Carson City Area
Flu shots are available on Thursdays only at the Carson City Health and Human Services, 900 E. Long Street in Carson City. Clinic hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Both walk-ins and appointments are accepted. To make an appointment and for more information, call (775) 887-2195.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washoe County Health District.