Flu clinics offer a healthy shot in the arm

Mary Cornforth Cawood
Mary Cornforth Cawood

Given the great weather in the Grand Valley, it’s difficult to imagine summer soon will end. If the thought of frosty mornings and winter coats isn’t enough to make you shudder, what about the dreaded season of sniffles, coughs and the flu?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the flu costs about $10.4 billion a year directly for hospitalizations and outpatient visits for adults in the United States. Even seemingly healthy people can contract the flu. During the 2013-2014 flu season, adults ages 18 to 64 accounted for 60 percent of reported flu hospitalizations.

The best protection against the flu is a vaccination. Getting the flu shot protects you and the people around you who could be more vulnerable to serious flu symptoms. The timing of the flu season varies by year, but usually peaks between January and March and can last until May. Flu viruses change each season, so the CDC recommends getting vaccinated every fall. As long as the flu is circulating, it’s not too late to get vaccinated. The vaccine protects against several different flu viruses, providing protection all season long.

The flu is a big disruption to any size business, so don’t let the flu affect your bottom line. On-site flu clinics offer a convenient way for employees to get vaccinated and reduce the risk of spreading infection as well as missed work due to illness.

The Mesa County Health Department offers on-site flu clinics to local businesses to take the hassle out of getting vaccinated. Clinics begin September, so it’s not too early to schedule yours as the number of clinics offered are based on vaccine supply.

How do on-site clinics work? Health department staff will work with you to set a day and time that best fits your schedule. We provide a flyer for you to use to promote the clinic. You provide the space for health department staff to administer flu shots.

Are clinics affordable? Flu shots can be billed to your business directly or to each employee’s personal health insurance. It is the employees’ responsibility to contact their health insurance providers to determine flu vaccine coverage. At the conclusion of your clinic, the health department will provide you with a statement showing the number of flu shots provided for your employees that day.

If you’re ready to schedule your flu clinic, visit www.health.mesacounty.us/services/family/immunizations and click on the link to sign up for on-site flu clinics. Still have questions? Call the health department at 248-6906.

On-site clinics are not the only way to promote employee health. Make sure your employees know where they and their families can get seasonal flu vaccines.  Consider posting a list in break rooms or other high-traffic areas of providers, pharmacies and clinics that offer vaccines.

The CDC offers several resources to businesses both large and small to fight the flu season. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/business/index.htm.   

Employers play an important role in preventing the flu by helping to protect their employees’ health, in turn reducing losses in productivity and revenue. Stay well and promote flu vaccination at your place of work.