If you haven’t yet gotten a flu shot, it’s not too late. Seattle and King County Public Health are providing free flu vaccinations today and next Thursday for all people over 6 months of age without health insurance or who are otherwise unable to pay for vaccination.
The vaccinations will be at the Columbia Public Health Center at 4400 37th Ave. S. in Columbia City. from 3-7 p.m. today, January 24, and next Thursday, January 31.
A few things to know:
No other vaccinations will be offered at the time of the clinics.
You will be able to get flu shots or nasal spray vaccines; preservative-free, gelatin-free and latex-free vaccines will be available.
You do not need to be a regular client at Public Health Centers and you do not need to show proof of citizenship to get the vaccination.
If you are pregnant, elderly, or you have a health problem such as diabetes, heart disease, or asthma, the vaccine is especially important for you. Go get it!
I have never been so grateful to have a mellow(ish) older dog.Â Tica was patient this week as we were laid out with a nasty bug.Â Was it a flu? A cold? Does it matter?Â We were sick, but at least we were prepared–and now we’re better.Â Whew!
King County has excellent guidelines (in several languages) for how to prepare for flu. If you’re at risk, get vaccinated. Wash your hands frequently, and make sure those around you (especially kids) wash their hands. Wipe down doorknobs, telephones, keyboards, and other surfaces. If you’re sick, STAY HOME. Ask someone else to run to the grocery store, pick up the kids, or take care of other errands.
I’ll add some practical tips (also useful for anyone expecting a baby or otherwise planning to be housebound for a while).Â Even with limited space and/or a limited budget, it’s possible to plan ahead.Â Be creative.
Stock up on household supplies.Â Buy extra toilet paper, tissue, cleaning supplies, etc while on sale.Â Have at least a week’s reserve stored, if possible.
Remember pets–have litter, food, and other essentials available in case you can’t make it to the store for a few days.
Keep a supply of medications on hand: pain/fever reducers, over-the-counter remedies, and prescription medications. Even if you don’t usually take OTC medications, buy a bottle of cold/flu reliever and some fever reducer.Â You can always give it away at the end of the season.
Print out a contact list of doctors/health care providers, including phone numbers, addresses, and emergency/after hours contact info.Â Make copies of insurance info & include in this folder.
Print out a list of friends/family/neighbors who can help.Â Be a helpful friend/neighbor–offer your contact information to those on your block in case of emergency.
Keep a collection of light reading, movies, games, etc. hidden in a cupboard. You’ll appreciate this when you’re well enough to be bored, but too sick to go out.
Fill a box with soup, crackers, gatorade, and other easy-to-eat non-perishable items.
I didn’t need to call anyone to walk Tica or run to Red Apple for juice.Â Shane and I were sick at different times, so we were able to take care of each other.Â It was a relief to know who I could call if I needed help.Â Â I’m grateful to have connections with neighbors who care.
“To avoid spreading infection, students should not gather outside of school during the week that school is closed. If students or staff do become ill, avoid contact with others and remain at home from work and school either for 7 days after illness starts or for a full day after the illness is over, whichever is longer. If your symptoms are more severe, call your health care provider to discuss if you need to be seen and evaluated, and tell them about the school closure for swine flu.”
It may be a bit late in the season, but there are free flu shots and flu nose sprays available on Saturday, February 14 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club, 4520 Martin Luther King Jr. Way South. Children must bring parents, and a certified Somali medical translator will be on hand — newrainiervista.com