ADA — Pontotoc County Health Department has received a shipment of more than 3,000 doses of flu vaccine, according to Mike Echelle, administrator of the facility.

Immunizations will be given from 8 a.m until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Shots will be administered as long as there is vaccine. The health department is located at 1630 Beverly in Ada.

The initial shipments of influenza vaccine was reserved for those at high-risk. Echelle said it was important for these individuals to receive immunizations at soon as possible.

High-risk individuals include those who are at high risk for complications from the flu and include children aged 6–59 months, pregnant women, individuals age 50 and older, those of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, individuals who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, people who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu, household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated) and health care workers.

For additional information, phone PCHD at (580) 332-2011 or go to www.health.state.ok.us for information about the flu and the latest outbreak statistics.

Individuals should be familiar with symptoms of influenza, health care officials said. Flu victims usually suffer high fever, headaches, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches and stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults.

Echelle said individuals can help protect themselves against the flu.

“Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing,” Echelle said. “It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Also, keep your hands clean. Using an alcohol-based gel if your hands are not visibly soiled or washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.”

Echelle said the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year.

Every year in the United States, 5 percent to 20 percent of the population gets the flu. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from influenza complications, and about 36,000 people die from flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you get the flu, get plenty of rest, drink a lot of liquids and avoid using alcohol and tobacco. Also, you can take medications such as acetaminophen to relieve the fever and muscle aches associated with the flu. Never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever, officials said.

There have been no reports of influenza this season, according to the state Health Department’s Web site.

There is plenty of time for individuals to protect themselves from the seasonal influenza outbreak, Echelle said.

The peak flu season in Oklahoma is mid-January through February.

Echelle expects PCHD to administer more than 7,000 influenza immunizations this season.