County Issues Health Advisory on Influenza   

Monticello, NY – Sullivan County Public Health Services would like to notify the public of the importance of influenza vaccination and prevention measures that can be taken if you or someone you come into close contact with has the flu.

This past week, the NYS Department of Health Commissioner urged all New Yorkers six months of age and over who have not yet received a flu shot to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Over the past week, cases of influenza rose by 37%, and new cases of influenza continue to be reported in almost all NYS counties.

“Influenza can be very serious and even result in death for the very young, older people and individuals with some chronic health conditions,” said Public Health Director Nancy McGraw.  

Adults aged 65 years and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions, young children and pregnant women are among those at highest risk for serious flu complications. Since the flu virus can spread through coughing or sneezing, it is especially important for family members and people who have regular contact with high-risk individuals to be vaccinated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccination should continue throughout flu season, as long as flu viruses are circulating. Flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, but remains the best way to prevent illness and flu complications, including those that can lead to hospitalization. Even though the effectiveness of the flu vaccine over the last few years has ranged from 30 to 60 percent, getting vaccinated can result in milder illness, if you still get the flu. Antiviral medication prescribed within 48 hrs of onset of symptoms by your health care provider can lessen the severity of illness if you do contract the flu.

The flu can cause mild to severe illness. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People infected with the flu may have respiratory symptoms without a fever. CDC recommends that people who are very sick or people who are sick who are at high risk of serious flu complications be treated early with flu antiviral drugs. Antiviral drugs work best when started within two days of symptoms first appearing. There are no current shortages of antiviral drugs, and manufacturers report they expect to meet projected seasonal demands.

In addition to getting a flu shot, it's important to practice good hand-hygiene:

Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds to protect yourself from germs and avoid spreading them to others.

Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available. Choose a product with at least 60% alcohol.

Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Instead, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.

For more information about the flu, visit:
https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/seasonal/.
 
Influenza vaccinations be obtained through your healthcare provider, some pharmacies, or at Sullivan County Public Health Services flu clinics for those without insurance, at 50 Community Lane, Liberty, NY, (845) 292-5910.

If you or your child comes down with any of the above symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider without delay. If your healthcare provider needs more information, they can call the Public Health Services at (845) 292-5910. An EPI nurse is on call and available 24/7.

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