ECDOH: Get a Flu Shot

ECDOH: Get a Flu Shot

Mon, Oct 24, 2022 3:50 PM

Erie County Health Department recommends a flu shot as flu season takes hold

Presented by the Erie County Health Department

One dose of the flu vaccine can prevent the body aches, fever, chills, nasal congestion, sore throat, and general feeling of illness that a typical flu infection causes.

The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) joins the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and health care providers in recommending a vaccine against influenza for everyone older than 6 months.

If you haven’t gotten a flu shot yet this fall, it’s not too late. The flu shot is recommended before the end of October, but vaccination after that will still provide protection throughout the flu season. The coronavirus vaccine and the flu vaccine can be given at the same time. The new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster protects against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and omicron variants, and reduces the risk of moderate and severe illness and hospitalizations from COVID-19. The CDC has details on stay up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccine and boosters.

The flu season in Australia, in the southern hemisphere, is ending. The country reported its worst flu season in five years, and the season started earlier than usual. Seasonal influenza trends for countries in the northern hemisphere tend to follow what is happening in the southern hemisphere.

NYSDOH began lab-confirmed flu case reports last week. Flu cases reported last week were already six times higher than flu cases reported during the same week last year, indicating an earlier start to flu season and confirming flu is circulating in the state of New York and Erie County.

“What we do to prevent flu transmission also works for COVID-19, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and other respiratory illnesses that completely debilitate people, especially older adults, very young infants, to people who are pregnant or who may become pregnant and to people living with a chronic medical condition,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein. “In addition to getting a flu shot, stay home when you feel sick; wash your hands often; cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing; and wear a mask as recommended.”

“You may think you are invincible and immune to the flu, but imagine the consequences of a flu infection for your co-worker who is undergoing cancer treatment, your elderly grandfather, or your son’s friend with a new sibling at home” , he continued. “Don’t put the people in your life at additional risk of disease. A flu shot protects you and those around you.”

The flu shot is an extra layer of protection for the most vulnerable in our community. Caregivers, those who spend time with people at high risk for complications from the flu, and people who interact with the general public should make flu vaccination a priority. That includes people who care for family members at home and caregivers who work in child care settings, group homes and other living settings, schools and health care facilities.

ECDOH is offering free flu testing along with COVID-19 and RSV at the Jesse Nash Health Center at 608 William St. This test provides results in one to three business days and is available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Check www.erie.gov/covidtest for the updated schedule.

Groups at Risk for Influenza Complications and Hospitalization

•Adults over 65 years

•Children under 2 years old

•Women who are pregnant and up to two weeks after the end of the pregnancy

•People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

•People with chronic medical conditions such as:

√ Asthma

√ Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions

√ Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)

√ Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)

√ Endocrine disorders (such as type 1 or type 2 diabetes)

√ Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease)

√ Kidney diseases

√ Liver disorders

√ Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)

√ Obese people with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more

√ People with a weakened immune system due to disease (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or some types of cancer such as leukemia) or medications (such as those receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer, or people with chronic conditions that require chronic corticosteroids or other medications that suppress the immune system)

√ People who have suffered a stroke

Who should get vaccinated against the flu?

All from 6 months of age. There are very few medical reasons for someone to avoid getting a flu shot. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

When should I get vaccinated against the flu?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu shot before the end of October. And a flu shot received any time through the end of the 2022-23 flu season will have a protection benefit. Don’t delay. The best protection comes before the flu season starts in early winter, and it takes up to two weeks to develop antibodies. Children who need two doses of the flu vaccine should start the process earlier; two doses should be spaced four weeks apart. Flu cases have already been diagnosed this season.

Where can I get vaccinated against the flu?

Almost all pharmacies and many doctor’s offices offer the flu shot. Call ahead to confirm vaccine availability.

Is there a cost for the flu vaccine?

With most insurance plans, the flu shot is fully covered and there is no copay. Some pharmacies offer flu shots for a nominal fee. $30-35 is a common cost.

Complications of the flu among children can include:

• Pneumonia (a disease in which the lungs become infected and inflamed)

• Dehydration (when a child’s body loses too much water and salts, often because fluid losses are greater than fluid intake)

• Worsening of long-term medical problems such as heart disease or asthma

•Brain dysfunction

• Sinus problems and ear infections

In rare cases, complications from the flu can cause death.

Take antiviral medications to treat flu illness if your doctor prescribes them

•Antiviral medications are available to treat the flu in children and adults.

•Antiviral drugs can make the illness milder and shorten its duration. They can also prevent serious complications from the flu.

•Antiviral medications are different from antibiotics that treat bacterial infections. These are prescription medicines (pills, liquid, or powder to inhale) that are for treating the flu.

•Antiviral drugs work best when treatment is started within two days of getting the flu, but starting later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person is very sick or at higher risk of serious flu complications. flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking or administering these medications.

For more:

√ Erie County Health Department, flu: www.erie.gov/flu

√ NYSDOH Flu Tracker: https://nyshc.health.ny.gov/web/nyapd/new-york-state-flu-tracker

√ CDC Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm

√ CDC, Frequently Asked Questions about the Flu: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/temporada/faq-flu-season-2022-2023.htm

√ Where to get a flu shot: https://www.vaccines.gov/find-vaccines/

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