Adventist HealthCare launched its fifth annual flu vaccination campaign on Sept. 12.  The “Help Stop the Flu” campaign focuses on prevention to help stop the spread of the flu in the region.  It provides the public with access to local flu shot clinics and encourages the community to take immediate action against the flu through vaccinations and prevention.

Starting in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began to recommend that everyone at least six months of age get a flu shot. Each year in the U.S., it’s estimated that more than 200,000 hospitalizations occur from seasonal flu-related complications and nearly 36,000 people die.

Judy Lichty, Regional Director of Health & Wellness for Adventist HealthCare says that getting a flu shot is the best defense you can take against getting the flu.

“In addition to getting vaccinated, it’s also important to make healthy lifestyle choices to avoid getting the flu including getting plenty of sleep and exercise, eating the right foods, and washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,” Judy says.

During the 2012-2013 flu season, Adventist HealthCare will offer flu shots for adults and children in close to 50 sites throughout MontgomeryandPrince George’s countiesin Maryland and surrounding communities. Through these clinics, Adventist HealthCare vaccinates thousands of residents each year and remains one of the largest providers of flu vaccines in MontgomeryCounty.

The CDC recommends getting a flu shot each year because flu viruses are constantly changing. Flu vaccines are formulated to protect against three strains of the flu that experts believe will be most common during that season. The 2012/2013 vaccine will protect against the same H1N1 strain as last year and two new strains.

“The flu is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, young children and the elderly,” Judy says. “Getting vaccinated every year is the best way to protect oneself against serious flu-related complications and to stay healthy during flu season.”

For people 65 years and older, a high-dose vaccine is now available which contains four times the amount of antigen than the regular flu shot and is better able to protect those that have a weaker immune system. For adults 18-64 years of age, an intradermal vaccine is also available, which is a shot injected into the skin instead of the muscle using a much smaller needle than the regular flu shot. This shot, which costs about $8 more than the traditional flu shot, is designed to avoid the deep muscle ache sometimes associated with the normal shot.

For additional information about clinics, the seasonal flu and vaccinations, visit