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September 16, 2011 > Don't Let Flu Season Get the Better of You

Don't Let Flu Season Get the Better of You

W.O.W. Mobile Health Clinic Offers Flu Shots, Primary Care Services

There are many ways to stay healthy. Actions like eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep at night can go a long way.

But when influenza-or "flu"-season comes along, one of the best ways to make sure that you and family members stay healthy is to get a flu shot annually, according to Ruth Traylor, Washington Hospital's Director of Community Outreach.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.

"The flu is contagious, but can be prevented through good hand hygiene and flu shots," Traylor says.

The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season, though most experts recommend getting vaccinated in the fall. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February, according to the CDC. However, seasonal flu activity can start as early as October and continue into May.


W.O.W.!

The Washington On Wheels (W.O.W.) Mobile Health Clinic, which travels the Tri-City area providing quality health care services primarily to uninsured and underserved District residents, is now offering flu shots for $25.

"One of the great things about the W.O.W. clinic is that it serves all community members regardless of ability to pay," Traylor points out.

For more than nine years, the W.O.W. Mobile Health Clinic has brought critical health care services directly to uninsured and underserved residents in the Washington Township Healthcare District. Every week, the 36-foot mobile unit travels to locations throughout Fremont, Union City and Newark delivering quality care to children, adults and seniors.

"Our goal is to improve the overall health of people in our District by increasing and expanding the reach of preventive health services, such as screenings," says Traylor. "And if you do get sick this season, the W.O.W. van provides care for respiratory issues, colds and flu."


Why you don't want the flu

The flu is caused by a virus and can cause mild to severe illness-and at times can lead to death. Different from a cold, it usually comes on suddenly with increased severity and may have the following symptoms listed by the CDC:
* Fever or feeling feverish/chills (though not everyone with the flu will have a fever)
* Cough
* Sore throat
* Runny or stuffy nose
* Muscle or body aches
* Headaches
* Fatigue (tiredness)
* Vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults


Get the care you need

The W.O.W. Mobile Health Clinic is a fully functioning clinic staffed by a nurse practitioner under the direction of Dr. Steven Curran, a Washington Hospital physician. Services provided range from physical exams, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol screenings to child and adult immunizations, including flu shots, nutritional counseling and many other medical services.

According to Traylor, the clinic serves more than 4,000 patients a year and demand for services continues to grow steadily each year.

To qualify for free or discount services, patients must go through eligibility. For more information on the mobile clinic schedule or to make an appointment, call (510) 608-3203.


Where You Can Find the W.O.W. Mobile Health Clinic

For access to flu shots and a range of other primary care services, visit the W.O.W. Mobile Health Clinic at the following locations. (Or call (510) 608-3203 to make an appointment.)
* Every Tuesday - 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Family Resource Center, 39155 Liberty Street, Fremont.
* First Friday of each month - 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Fremont Senior Center, 40086 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont.
* Second Thursday of each month - 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Silliman Activity Center 6800 Mowry Avenue, Newark.
* Fourth Monday of each month - 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Ruggieri Senior Center, 33997 Alvarado-Niles Road, Union City.
* (Also provides service to Fremont and Newark Unified School Districts. Please call for a schedule.)

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