Free clinics offer whooping cough, flu vaccinations
Last year, California saw the largest number of reported cases of pertussis in 63 years.
Statewide, 8,383 cases were reported and 50 of these occurred in Placer County. These numbers represent a five-fold increase over the number of cases in 2009 for both the state and county.
“Unfortunately, the five-fold increase in cases this past year indicates that the epidemic has hit Placer County at the same time it has hit the state as a whole,” said Dr. Richard Burton, Placer County Director of Health and Human Services, in a press release.
A proven strategy to protect against this disease, and against seasonal influenza, is by getting a vaccination. Both diseases can cause significant illness in children, and are easily spread.
Placer County Community Health, in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health and school districts in Placer County, is offering free pertussis and influenza vaccination clinics for county residents.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious disease spread by coughing and sneezing. Vaccination is the best defense but immunity wears off over time. As a result, pertussis continues to circulate widely.
The disease has resulted in some hospitalizations and some deaths among infants who were too young to receive vaccinations. Anyone around an infant is strongly encouraged to be vaccinated.
Symptoms are initially similar to a cold and can include a runny nose, fever and diarrhea, but severe episodes of coughing can begin within one to two weeks, Burton said. Check with your doctor if your infant has a respiratory illness, or if an older child or adult develops any symptoms worse than the common cold.
Influenza can be more dangerous to children than the common cold. Annual flu shots are recommended to all infants over six months of age, and to all children and adults. Flu Mist, the nasal mist vaccine, is also available at the free clinics.
For more information, call Placer County Community Health at (530) 889-7141 or visit www.placer.ca.gov/departments/hhs/community_health.aspx.
~ Staff report
Free whooping cough and flu vaccination clinics
Roseville: 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10, at Buljan Middle School, 100 Hallissy Drive
Rocklin: 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9, at Spring View Middle School, 5040 5th St.
Lincoln: 4-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8, at Glen Edwards Middle School, 204 L St.