With flu season right around the corner, it's time to schedule your annual flu shot. Whether you find yourself in Worcester, Wicomico or Somerset counties, free flu clinics will be available to the public beginning in late September.
Here's a roundup of this year's flu clinics around the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and more to know about the disease and how to avoid it.
What is the influenza (flu)?
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It can cause mild to severe illness in individuals of all ages and can also, at times, be fatal.
Most symptoms emerge within 24 to 48 hours and are characterized by fever, chills, sore throat, cough and headache. Just one infected person can unknowingly pass on the flu to family members and loved ones, as the virus can be transmitted 24 hours before symptoms appear, said the Atlantic General Hospital in a news release.
Flu viruses spread through tiny droplets made when an individual coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of those nearby. Less often, a person may get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes, reported the CDC.
How do I avoid getting sick?
Marylanders can reduce their risk of infection with flu by taking the following steps to protect themselves and others:
Avoid close contact.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your mouth and nose.
Clean your hands.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Practice other good health habits.
— Source for tips: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
TidalHealth’s Salisbury Drive-Thru Flu Clinic is providing community flu vaccination with a free drive-thru clinic for those ages 8 and older at the Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. A parent or legal guardian must accompany those under the age of 18. A physician’s order is not necessary.
The quadrivalent flu shot is designed to protect against four different flu viruses to provide broader protection against circulating flu viruses. Flu shots at the TidalHealth Salisbury Drive-Thru Clinic will be free. TidalHealth will not be providing any COVID-19 testing or shots at this event.
Arthur W. Perdue (Shorebirds) Stadium
Intersection of Route 50 and Hobbs Road, Salisbury, Md.
Sept. 29, 2023 | 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The Somerset County Health Department will be holding free flu clinics beginning in October. Clinics will be held the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Vaccinations will be given by appointment and are available at no cost. A parent or legal guardian must accompany those under the age of 18.
Somerset County Health Department
8928 Sign Post Road, Westover, Md.
Oct. 10, 2023
TidalHealth’s Crisfield Drive-Thru Flu Clinic is also returning this October. Seasonal quadrivalent flu vaccinations will be provided to individuals 8 years of age or older. A parent or legal guardian must accompany those under the age of 18. A physician’s order is not necessary.
TidalHealth McCready Pavilion
201 Hall Highway, Crisfield, Md.
Oct. 7, 2023 | 8 a.m. – noon
Flu shots are encouraged for anyone over the age of 6 months, but especially for people over the age of 65, people with heart or lung disorders, at high-risk for diseases or diabetes, said TidalHealth in a news release.
TidalHealth will not be offering high dose flu shots for seniors at this event. Participants are asked to wear a short-sleeved shirt that will provide easy access to the upper arm. The vaccine being given is effective for everyone meeting the age restrictions.
As a service to the community, Atlantic General Hospital & Health System is providing community flu vaccination with a series of free clinics for those ages 13 and older. No appointment is required. Clinic dates are subject to change based upon flu vaccine availability.
*High-dose vaccines available at this clinic.
Barrett Medical Office Building (drive-thru)
10231 Old Ocean City Blvd., Berlin, Md.
Sept. 23 & Oct. 7, 2023* | 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Mary Star of the Sea Holy Savior Parish
1705 Philadelphia Ave., Ocean City, Md.
Oct. 2, 2023 | 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Pocomoke Fire Department
1410 Market St., Pocomoke, Md.
Oct. 9, 2023* | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Bethany United Methodist Church - Pocomoke
205 Market St., Pocomoke, Md.
Oct. 14, 2023 | 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Ocean Pines Community Center
235 Ocean Pkwy., Ocean Pines, Md.
Oct. 17, 2023* | 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Stevenson United Methodist Church’s Spirit Kitchen
123 N. Main St., Berlin, Md.
Oct. 18, 2023* | 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Ocean Pines Community Center (drive-thru)
235 Ocean Pkwy., Ocean Pines, Md.
Oct. 20, 2023* | 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Snow Hill Fire Department
4718 Snow Hill Rd., Snow Hill, Md.
Oct. 21, 2023* | 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
For updates on the Atlantic General Hospital Community Flu Clinics, including new clinic dates and availability of high-dose flu vaccine in addition to the standard-dose vaccine, please visit www.agh.care/flu.
Olivia Minzola covers communities on the Lower Shore. Contact her with tips and story ideas at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Salisbury Daily Times: Here's where to get a flu shot in Maryland, how to avoid getting sick