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Flu shots, prevention and care

Flu vaccine is available September through June

Everyone older than 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this year. 

No one will be turned away for lack of insurance coverage. If you have an insurance card, please bring it with you. Let us know if you do not have insurance.

Bloomington Public Health nurses give flu shots on the following days and times

Public Health Center1900 W. Old Shakopee Rd., Bloomington, 55431
  • First and third Tuesdays of each month from 3:15 - 5:15 p.m. in the Immunization Clinic. (You do not need an appointment.)
  • Weekdays, 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (Please call 952-563-8900 and speak to an intake nurse to find out the best times to come.)

Flu vaccine reminders

  • Shots will be given to persons 6 months of age and older. 
  • Wearing short sleeves is suggested.
  • Bring your insurance card so your insurance company can be billed. Let us know if you do not have insurance.
  • Children under 18 years must have a parent or guardian present.

Arm yourself against the flu! Don't be fooled by the myths . . .

Myth #1: You don't need a yearly flu shot.

The flu vaccine isn't like other vaccines with longer-lasting protection. Even if you had a flu shot last season, you will need a flu shot this year to be protected. You need a flu shot every year to protect yourself against the flu viruses that are most likely to make you sick.

Myth #2: The flu vaccine can give you the flu.

It is impossible to get sick from the flu vaccine because injected vaccine only contains dead viruses. Dead viruses cannot infect you. People who experience flu vaccine side effects may believe it is the flu. Side effects to the vaccine tend to be a sore arm and maybe a low fever or achiness. Having the flu would be much worse than this.

Myth #3: The flu vaccine isn't safe.

Flu vaccines have been given for more than 50 years and they have a very good safety track record. Flu vaccines are made the same way each year and their safety is closely monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. Hundreds of millions of flu vaccines have been given safely.

Myth #4: Healthy people do not need a flu vaccine.

Anyone can become sick with the flu and experience serious complications. Old people, young children, pregnant women and people with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease are at especially high risk from the flu. However, kids, teens and adults who are active and healthy also can get the flu and become very ill from it.

Flu viruses are unpredictable, and every season puts you at risk. Besides, you might be around someone who's at high risk from the flu . . . a baby . . . your grandparents, or even a friend. You don't want to be the one spreading flu.

Myth #5: The seasonal flu is annoying but harmless.

The flu (influenza) is a contagious disease which affects the lungs and can lead to serious illness, including pneumonia. While pregnant women, young children, older people, and people with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease are at increased risk of serious flu-related complications, even healthy people can get sick enough to miss work or school for a significant amount of time.

Sure, most people who get the seasonal flu recover just fine, but it also hospitalizes 200,000 people in the U.S. each year. It kills an estimated 3,000 to 49,000 people (Centers for Disease Control). The flu is certainly nothing to be called harmless.

Myth #6: It's too late to get protection from a flu vaccine this season.

Flu seasons are unpredictable. They can begin early in the fall and last late into the spring. As long as flu season isn't over, it's not too late to get vaccinated, even during the winter.

Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family. If you missed getting your flu vaccine in the fall, get your flu vaccine now for protection all season long.

Flu prevention and care

Other steps people can take to avoid spreading or catching influenza

  • Do your best to stay healthy. Get plenty of rest, physical activity and healthy eating.
  • Stay home from school or work if you have a respiratory infection. Avoid exposing yourself to others who are sick with flu-like illness.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue whenever you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue away. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Clean surfaces you touch frequently, such as doorknobs, water faucets, refrigerator handles and telephones.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.

Know when to seek care

Most people can fight the flu at home with rest and fluids. If you are in a group at high risk for influenza complications and you develop influenza, you should contact your health care provider early on so that you can be given antiviral medication if needed (it is most effective when started within two days of contracting influenza). It is also just a good idea to check in with your health care provider or doctor in case your situation worsens.

Is it the cold or the flu?

Signs and symptoms Influenza Cold
Onset Sudden Gradual
Fever Temperature of 100° F and above, lasting 3-4 days None or a temperature of less than 100° F
Cough Dry, sometimes severe Hacking
Headache Prominent Rare
Muscle pain Usual, often severe Uncommon or mild
Tiredness and weakness Lasting 2-3 weeks Very mild and brief
Extreme exhaustion Early and prominent Never
Chest discomfort Common Uncommon or mild
Stuffy nose Sometimes Common
Sneezing Sometimes Typical
Sore throat Sometimes Common

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