Amid news that New York is among 25 states now reporting widespread seasonal flu activity, Suffolk County officials are urging residents who have not yet received this season’s flu vaccination to get one as soon as possible.
“Influenza is a substantial public health threat, so we ask individuals to get the vaccine to protect not only themselves but also their families and the community,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a statement.
Flu season runs from October through May, but usually peaks in January and February.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older. Children under age nine may need to return for a second dose of immunization.
“Most people who become infected with the flu will suffer with fever, congestion, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches over the course of a week or two and will eventually recover completely," Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken said. “However, some are at greater risk for serious complications that can lead to hospitalization or even death. The flu vaccine is the best way modern medicine currently has to protect against this potentially serious disease.”
Tomarken offered the following CDC recommendations to residents:
- Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctors’ offices, clinics, local health centers, pharmacies, college health centers and places of business. Contact your health care provider today for your flu vaccine.
- Students and adults should stay home from school or work if they develop influenza-like illness.
- If you do get sick, wash hands often and cover your coughs and sneezes. It’s best to use a tissue and quickly throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. This will prevent the spread of germs.
- Get plenty of rest and drink a lot of fluids.
- Individuals who are particularly vulnerable to complications from influenza should seek medical attention at the first signs of illness. People at high risk for developing serious flu complications include children younger than 5 years, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, blood disorders, morbid obesity, kidney and liver disorders, HIV or AIDS, and cancer.
Residents with questions about the flu can call the Department of Health Services hotline number 800-787-2200.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov. For flu-related questions contact FluInbox@cdc.gov.