The dreaded flu is rearing its head early this year, and health officials in Maryland’s Montgomery County are advising residents not to put off their vaccinations.
The county has announced dates for its annual flu vaccination campaign. Shots will be readily available both through private health providers as well as retail locations, and county-sponsored seasonal flu vaccination clinics will be held starting late October.
Flu shots will be available free of charge at the following locations and dates. Appointments are required and can be made through the county’s website or by calling 311.
- Universities at Shady Grove (Building II 9630 Gudelsky Drive, Rockville) on from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21 and Monday, Nov. 18 — for anyone six months of age and older. FluMist is not available.
- Kennedy High School (1901 Randolph Road, Silver Spring), Northwest High School (13501 Richter Farm Road, Germantown), Rockville High School (2100 Baltimore Road, Rockville) from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 — for school-age children ages three to 18 only. FluMist is not available.
Along with vaccinations, healthy habits are your best bet in warding off the flu. County officials have the following suggestions on preventing the spread of germs and disease this winter:
- Always cover cough or sneeze with a tissue — then throw the tissue away. Or, cough or sneeze into the inside of the elbow.
- Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze and before you eat. Alcohol hand sanitizer (minimum 60% alcohol) will help if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth. These are places germs can enter the body easily.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.
- Monitor yourself and your family for symptoms of fever which include chills, headache, sore throat, cough, body aches, and vomiting or diarrhea.
- If you are sick, stay home from work, school or other public places until you are feeling well.
The Montgomery County government recommends the shot for everybody, but particularly the elderly, households with children younger than six months, health care workers and individuals with compromised immune systems.