A lot of people have been coming down with the nasty flu that’s been floating around and if you want to protect yourself, today would be a great day to get vaccinated.

Why is it so important to receive a flu vaccination? Having the flu is much worse than having a cold because flu symptoms are more intense and can result in serious health problems such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, hospitalizations and even death.

Claudia Edwards, Public Health Director for the Broome County Health Department says:“The best way to protect yourself and others from getting the flu is to get immunized each year. Advances in scientific research have increased the flu vaccination options available to consumers this flu season, including painless options, which are great for children, a high dose vaccine for older adults, and a new vaccine made without eggs for those who have egg allergies,” said Edwards. “You should discuss your options with your physician, nurse, or pharmacist to see which vaccine option is available and may be best for you.”

The health department will be offering the quadrivalent flu vaccine by shot only at their clinics. No nasal flu mist will be available. The quadrivalent (four-virus) flu vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this year. It offers protection against the four different influenza (flu) viruses that research shows will be the most common during the season: two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.

You can get vaccinated for $25, payable by cash or check. If you’re 65 or older and subscribe to traditional Medicare Part B, Excellus Medicare Blue PPO, Today’s Options or CDPHP Medicare the health department will bill your insurance plan. Pneumonia shots will also be offered at the flu clinics for traditional Medicare Part B recipients aged 65 and older.

If your child’s immunizations are covered by medical insurance, parents are advised to seek flu vaccinations for them at their regular medical provider. This can help cut down on out of pocket costs, especially for kids who require a second dose of the vaccine because of their age.

However, if your child’s immunizations are not covered by insurance, call the Broome County Health Department at 607.778.2839 to schedule an appointment for the flu vaccine. The health department offers immunizations for uninsured children at low or no cost.

Today’s flu clinic will be held at the Broome County Health Department, 225 Front Street in Binghamton from 1pm to 5pm.