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Flu Shots Recommended for Everyone, 6 Months and Older

Flu Shots Recommended for Everyone, 6 Months and Older

Influenza season is here in Southeast Louisiana, and Stacy R. Newman, M.D., of North Oaks Infectious Disease cautions against taking chances against this easily spread respiratory virus.

While frequent handwashing, maintaining safe physical distancing practices and covering coughs or sneezes will decrease the risk, influenza vaccination is by far your best defense in preventing the flu this season, according to Newman.

North Oaks Urgent Care clinics in Hammond, Ponchatoula and Walker are offering flu shots for adults and children, age 6 months and older. A high-dose vaccine for senior adults, age 65 and older, also is available. Reserve your appointment here. North Oaks Urgent Care hours of operation are 7 a.m.-8 p.m. every day of the week.

In addition, all North Oaks primary care and certain specialty clinics are offering flu vaccines by appointment. Clinics include: North Oaks Primary Care in Hammond, Livingston and Independence; as well as Hammond’s North Oaks Family Medicine, Northshore Internal Medicine Associates, Magnolia Obstetrics & Gynecology, North Oaks Infectious Disease, North Oaks Pulmonology and North Oaks Rheumatology. To locate a participating clinic, click here or call North Oaks Physician Group at (985) 230-APPT [2778] or (844) APPT-NOW [277-8669].

“It’s important to keep your guard up against common preventable diseases, such as flu that can significantly affect our health. This is why I urge everyone meeting the recommendations to get the influenza vaccine yearly,” Newman asserts. “It’s the single best way to prevent influenza. Even if you happen to get the flu, having the vaccine onboard not only will reduce the severity of your symptoms, but also will decrease your risk for secondary pneumonias, hospitalization and other health complications.”

All flu vaccines offered in the U.S. are quadrivalent, offering protection against four strains of the virus projected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be most prevalent for the 2022-2023 season: an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus and two influenza B viruses.

Most health insurance plans are accepted, and many may cover the vaccine as a preventive service at no cost to you and covered family members. To verify acceptance of your plan and preventive service coverage, contact your insurance provider. Self-pay options also are available by request.

Vaccination of high-risk individuals is especially important to decrease risk of severe flu illness. Vaccination is important for health care workers, those who live with or care for high-risk individuals, as well as caregivers of and those who live with infants younger than 6 months. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding also should get vaccinated to avoid severe complications from the flu. Vaccination during pregnancy or while breastfeeding can help protect infants during the first months of life (when they are too young to be vaccinated.)

Flu vaccines are not appropriate for infants younger than 6 months of age, individuals with severe life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine ingredients and those who have had a severe allergic reaction to a dose of the flu vaccine in the past.

North Oaks Urgent Care clinics are located at: 1900 S. Morrison Blvd., Suite A in Hammond (within North Oaks Rehabilitation Hospital); 530 W. Pine St., Suite 1 in Ponchatoula; and 28050 Walker S. Road, Suite L in Walker. 

Hours of operation for other participating North Oaks primary care and specialty clinics are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.

To learn more about influenza and flu vaccines, speak with your personal health care provider or click here. You also can visit the CDC website here.