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Influenza (Flu)

Message from the Sonoma County Health Officer

In the United States, yearly outbreaks of seasonal flu usually occur during the fall through early spring. Influenza or "the flu" is a serious contagious disease. As a doctor, I have seen many patients (from infants to seniors) suffer from serious flu complications. Every year in Sonoma County, flu leads to lost days at work and school, hospitalizations and even deaths.

Take the following simple actions to protect yourself and others during this flu season:

  1. Get vaccinated. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year. I urge everyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine this fall.
  2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it and wash your hands.
  3. Don't share personal items like toothbrushes, beverage bottles or cups.
  4. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  5. Protect others. If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

By protecting yourself, you are also protecting others around you from what could be a life-threatening illness. Let's all work together to make this flu season as healthy and safe as possible for everyone.

Be well,
Celeste Philip, MD, MPH
Health Officer

Where to Get Immunizations

Persons with health insurance, including Medicare, are encouraged to get a seasonal flu shot at their health care provider's office.

  •  You can access the Health Insurance Market Place, which has plans that cover free flu vaccines.
  • If you have no regular health care provider, please call the community clinic in your area for information about the flu shot.
  • For Kaiser Members: You can call 1800-KP-FLU-11 (800-573-5811).
  • Sutter Care at Home offers flu shot clinics, call (707) 535-5690.
  • The Health Map Vaccine Finder is a free, online service where users can search for locations offering flu vaccines.
  • Many local pharmacies offer the influenza vaccine.

Who Should Get a Flu Shot

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year to protect themselves as well as others. It is especially important that certain people be vaccinated because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for complications. This includes pregnant women, children, elderly and those with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, a weak immune system, morbid obesity, or younger than age 19 and on long-term aspirin therapy.

Vaccine Information

For Health Providers

Guidance for Specific Groups