- As part of their ongoing efforts to limit the negative impact of influenza, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched its annual awareness campaign to encourage residents to be actively healthy and get their annual flu shot. The campaign features transit, broadcast and digital ads in English and Spanish and also an updated Flu Clinic Finder
that directs Chicagoans to locations where they can conveniently get a vaccine at no cost to the individual.
The U.S. experienced a particularly bad flu season last year with an estimated 900,000 hospitalizations and more than 80,000 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that every individual six months of age or older get a yearly flu shot, which protects against several strains of the virus.
"Every year, the flu takes its toll on children and families throughout Chicago," said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D. "Fortunately there is a safe and effective vaccine to protect everyone from flu and its potentially severe complications."
Throughout the campaign, residents are encouraged to talk to their doctor, visit their pharmacy or call 311 to get a flu shot. In addition, CDPH has continued to team up with the Department of Innovation and Technology to relaunch the Chicago Free Flu Vaccine Finder
. Residents can use the web-based app to find a location nearby where they can get their flu shot.
CDPH has also collaborated with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, aldermanic offices and various partners to host community events where residents can get their flu shot for no out-of-pocket cost. This year, 75 events are planned in all 50 wards. Residents can attend any of the walk-in clinic events and should bring their Medicare or insurance card if they have one. Five family flu shot clinics are scheduled for Saturday October 13, 9am-2pm at Daley, Wright and Truman City Colleges and Saturday, October 20, 9am-2pm at Whole Foods in Englewood (832 W 63rd St, Chicago, IL 60621) and Arturo Velasquez Institute (2800 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60608).
In addition to vaccinations, everyone can take the following basic precautions to avoid the flu:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. Teach children the same healthy habits.
- If you have the flu or any cold, do not infect others. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze, and promptly discard used facial tissues. If you are ill, stay home from work or school until you recover.
- Make an extra effort to clean commonly-touched surfaces, such as countertops, tables, doorknobs
- Do not share anything that goes in the mouth, such as drinking cups and straws.
- Eat more whole grains, vegetables and fruit, get enough rest and stay physically fit to help the body fight off disease.
The campaign runs through the end of October. CDPH's immunization program works to increase vaccine coverage levels throughout the city. The program focuses on neighborhoods and communities that face the greatest health disparities as part of Healthy Chicago 2.0, a plan focused on ensuring residents enjoy equitable access to resources, opportunities and environments that maximize their health and well-being. To get vaccinated, talk to your doctor or call a pharmacy. If you do not have a doctor, call 311 to locate aCDPH Walk-in Immunization Clinic
. You can also use the Flu Clinic Finder
to locate a place nearby.