Rite Aid pharmacies to offer regular seasonal flu shots throughout the flu season

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This flu season more than 2900 Rite Aid pharmacies are offering regular seasonal flu shots and starting September 1, flu shot locations and clinic dates will be available at www.riteaid.com and by calling toll-free 1-866-751-1494. Many Rite Aid pharmacists have already been giving regular seasonal flu shots following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advice that anyone who wishes to reduce the risk of getting the regular seasonal flu get a flu shot as soon as they are available.

More than 2,000 certified immunizing pharmacists in more than 1,500 Rite Aid stores will give regular seasonal flu shots now and throughout the flu season. After locating a Rite Aid store with an immunizing pharmacist at www.riteaid.com or toll-free 1-866-751-1494, customers should call the store to check if appointments are necessary. Rite Aid pharmacists also can counsel customers and answer questions about both the regular seasonal flu and H1N1 flu.

Nurses will be giving regular seasonal flu shots on a first come, first served basis at flu shot clinics in more than 1,800 Rite Aid stores from September 23 through mid-December. Clinic locations will be available September 1 at www.riteaid.com or by calling toll-free 1-866-751-1494.

Regular seasonal flu shots and pneumococcal shots for pneumonia will be offered by Rite Aid pharmacists or at Rite Aid flu clinics. Many insurance plans cover the cost of the shots. Most customers with Medicare will have no co-pay. State regulations vary as to types of immunization that may be given by pharmacists and age requirements.

The two very distinct types of flu this year – the regular seasonal flu and H1N1 flu – will require increased awareness and prevention measures. H1N1 is an entirely different virus which affects groups like young adults who are not typically affected by the regular flu. According to the CDC, the regular seasonal flu vaccination will not protect against H1N1 flu, but the recommendation is for everyone to get a regular seasonal flu shot as soon as possible.

Prevention measures are especially important since the H1N1 vaccine won’t be available until at least mid-October and is expected to be distributed only in limited amounts to high risk groups well into the flu season. The CDC says the single best way to prevent the regular seasonal flu is to get a flu shot, but good health habits like covering your cough, washing your hands often or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and throwing away used tissues immediately can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses including all types of flu. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise, rest and relaxation and avoiding contact with those who have flu symptoms also will be key prevention measures. Additional information about H1N1 flu and other prevention measures is available at www.flu.gov.

Rite Aid is already discussing with federal, state and local health department officials the possibility of securing and administering H1N1 vaccine at our pharmacies. Rite Aid will provide additional information regarding the availability of H1N1 vaccinations as it is received. Customers can regularly check www.riteaid.com for updates.

The CDC recommends that the following groups get vaccinated with the regular seasonal flu shot:

  • Anyone who wants to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with the regular seasonal flu or spreading flu to others
  • Pregnant women
  • Those age 6 months through age 18; people age 50 and older
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions like diabetes; heart, kidney or lung disease; asthma; anemia or other blood disorders
  • Those who are immunosuppressed (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by human immunodeficiency virus)
  • People 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:
    • Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
    • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
    • Household contacts and caregivers of children from birth up to age 5

Rite Aid stores are stocked with supplies such as alcohol-based hand sanitizers/hand rubs, thermometers, masks and other flu-related items. Stores also are stocked with the prescription medications Tamiflu and Relenza for those patients whose doctor has recommended they take one of these medications or should have a prescription ready if they do require the medications.

The CDC is asking individuals and families to be prepared with flu-related supplies in the event of sickness, so they can avoid making trips out in public while sick and contagious. They also are recommending those who are sick to stay out of schools and businesses to avoid spreading the flu.

Symptoms of the regular seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu virus are similar and include fever or chills in addition to a cough or sore throat. Other symptoms are runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness and may include diarrhea and vomiting. Those at higher risk for complications from the flu and experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their physician. Antiviral medications may be prescribed and are most effective when started within two days of becoming sick. A physician should also be contacted if someone is having difficulty breathing or has shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, severe or persistent vomiting, or flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with a fever or worse cough.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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