Orange County Health Department: it’s not too late to get a flu shot

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GOSHEN – Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus and Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman are reminding residents that it is not too late to get a flu shot.

“There is still time to take precautions and get a flu shot,” Neuhaus said. “The vaccine is readily available from a variety of sources and there is no shortage of the vaccine. Serious complications can develop from the flu and having the flu shot can lessen symptoms and save lives.”

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over six months of age.  For the 2019-2020 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine, including live attenuated influenza vaccine (live nasal spray).

CDC data states that the influenza vaccine continues to provide protection against all flu viruses and can reduce the severity of symptoms for those who do get the flu.

Having the flu can be an awful experience and the influenza season can typically last until May. 

Gelman said the symptoms of the flu can vary from mild to severe, and often develop quickly. Those symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. 

According to the CDC, in addition to getting an annual flu shot, it’s important to take preventive measures to stop the spread of germs, including the following:

  • If you are sick, limit contact with others. If sick with flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze and dispose of used tissues immediately.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

“The absolute best gift this holiday season is the health and wellness of our loved ones,” Gelman said. “And the single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year. The body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time and because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and updated as needed to keep up with changing flu viruses. For these reasons, a flu vaccine is needed annually.”