Submitted by: PeaceHealth

It’s difficult to predict what each flu season will bring, so PeaceHealth recommends being prepared by taking the steps necessary to keep ourselves and our communities healthy.

With flu season on the horizon, PeaceHealth physicians are urging residents to receive an influenza vaccination, as well as follow a few simple steps to help prevent spreading the flu. 

“First and foremost, getting the influenza vaccination is the best way to avoid or decrease symptoms of influenza,” said Raymond Belarmino, MPH, CIC, CPHQ, infection prevention manager at PeaceHealth. “You should always cover your cough — ideally with your inner elbow — and practice good handwashing. Social distancing is also important. If you are sick, stay home; if you must be around others, consider wearing a mask.”

This year’s seasonal flu vaccine is quadrivalent, which means it’s designed to protect against four different flu viruses: two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. The viruses in the shot are inactive, so don’t worry – you can’t catch the flu from the vaccine. The vaccine is also preservative-free.

PeaceHealth joins with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, recommending that everyone ages 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccination. It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to start working. According to the CDC, flu activity peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can occur as late as May, so getting vaccinated is one way to ensure that your family is protected for the duration of this flu season.

“When a large group of individuals develops immunity after being vaccinated, others who cannot receive those same vaccinations due to illness, age or previous severe reactions will be better protected,” explained Belarmino. “As with any medication, get all the facts about a vaccine and make informed decisions.”

Where to get a flu shot

Ready to roll-up a sleeve? PeaceHealth Medical Group, located at 4545 Cordata Pkwy, Bellingham, is currently offering flu shots by appointment and during seasonal walk-in clinics.

The walk-in flu shot clinics will take place each Saturday throughout the month of October between 9:00 a.m. and noon.

Walk-in flu shots are also available at the Same Day Care Clinic, located at 3015 Squalicum Pkwy, Suite 140, during its normal business hours.

Preventing the spread of flu

In order to prevent others—especially the medically vulnerable—from coming down with the flu or other contagious illnesses, Belarmino stressed that it’s important for anyone with any symptoms to refrain from visiting PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center. These symptoms include fever of 100 degrees or higher, cough, sore throat, headache, redness or swelling of the eyes, diarrhea, runny nose or vomiting.

For more information about why it’s important to protect yourself against the flu, visit

Illustration courtesy of Washington State Department of Health

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