Influenza or “flu” is a serious contagious disease that kills thousands every year and is the most frequent cause of death from a vaccine preventable disease in the United States.
Minnesota influenza outbreaks typically occur between December through April. Antibodies develop about two weeks after getting the vaccine, but drops in the elderly and those with immuno-compromising diseases.
Riverwood Healthcare Center will offer flu clinics for the public by appointment at all three of its clinics on the dates and times listed here. We will be scheduling these from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. at each clinic.
Aitkin clinic: Oct. 12, 17, 18 and 24
Garrison clinic: Oct. 26 and Nov. 2
McGregor clinic: Oct. 11, 19 and 25
To make an appointment, call Riverwood’s toll-free flu line at (888) 303-4550. The flu clinics schedule is also posted at www.RiverwoodHealthcare.org
New this year, flu shot appointments can be scheduled online through MyChart for those Riverwood patients who are using this online tool to manage their health. A link to the MyChart login is on the Riverwood website homepage.
In Aitkin only, an evening walk-in clinic from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. will be held on Oct. 17. No appointment is needed.
For the second year in a row the live attenuated influenza vaccine (also known as the nasal spray or Flu Mist) is not recommended as questions around the low effectiveness remain unanswered. Everyone, 6 months and older, is still recommended to get the injectable vaccine.
“While the flu vaccine does not always protect us from getting influenza, research shows that receiving a flu vaccine each year can reduce the risk of hospitalizations, pneumonia, and death,” said Laura Wood, infection preventionist. “At Riverwood, we are committed to keeping our hospital and clinic patients safe and we urge community members to get flu shots, cover their coughs or sneezes, perform hand hygiene, and refrain from visiting hospital patients when you are ill.”