Have you had your flu vaccination yet? You are going to get one, right? We’re enjoying unseasonably warm weather, the fall colors are beautiful and the flu is far from our minds, but the truth is, the flu season is here; NOW is the time to act. Those beautiful fall colors are our first reminder to protect ourselves from the flu, and the flu vaccine is the best way to get that protection. Get the flu vaccination and get it now. Public Health officials recommend the flu vaccine for everyone over the age of six months. I realize that many people equate the flu with the common cold, but that’s not true. The flu is serious, can put you in the hospital and is a killer. Every year thousands die from the flu. Don’t let it be you or your loved ones.
The above especially applies to persons at high risk. Persons considered high risk for serious complications from influenza include those 65 years and older, children under the age of five, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions. If in doubt, check with your primary care physician to determine if you are at high risk for influenza.
Years ago it was sometimes difficult to locate a place where flu vaccinations were available. No longer. Many pharmacies and clinics offer the flu vaccine in Onondaga County, and the county’s Health Department makes it very easy to find one near you. The ‘Flu Vaccine Finder’ is available at http://www.ongov.net/health/fluandpneumonia.html where you can locate vaccine providers by zip code. Most insurance policies cover the cost. Otherwise, a flu shot is available for as little as $25 if you are without insurance, and free if you’re on Medicare Part B.
In addition to getting a vaccination, there are precautions you can take to reduce the likelihood of contracting the flu. Wash your hands often with warm water and soap, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your arm when you sneeze or cough, and avoid close contact with anyone who is sick. If you get sick with the flu, stay home and away from others for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. For more information about the seasonal flu, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/ or the New York State Department of Health’s website at http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/seasonal/ .
If interested, you can track the reported flu cases in Onondaga County at the Health Department’s webpage: http://www.ongov.net/health/fluandpneumonia.html . You can also contact Onondaga County’s Health Department at 435-2000.
To summarize, please don’t dismiss getting a flu vaccination. There are many misconceptions and myths on the subject, but the fact is that the vaccination reduces your chance of getting the flu. Just do it.