Mineola, NY – Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein today urged all residents six months of age and over who have not yet received their annual flu shot to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Over the past several weeks, cases of influenza have significantly increased, and are widespread.
“The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe symptoms,” said County Executive Curran. “Getting vaccinated is the single best way for people to protect not only themselves, but those around them, including people at high risk for serious complications, like babies, pregnant women, older adults and those with certain chronic medical conditions.”
“Even though the effectiveness of the flu vaccine can vary from year to year, vaccinated individuals who contract the illness will usually have a milder course and are less likely to be hospitalized or die from flu-related complications,” said Dr. Eisenstein. “Flu season typically peaks on the East Coast in late winter, so it’s not too late to get vaccinated.”
The symptoms of the flu can vary from mild to severe illness, and often come on suddenly. Symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that antiviral drugs be used early to treat hospitalized patients, people with severe illness, and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health. Other people also may be treated with antiviral drugs by their healthcare provider. Antiviral drugs are prescription medications that can be used to fight flu illness and work best when started within two days of symptoms first appearing.
During last year’s flu season, there were 12,912 flu-related hospitalizations and eight pediatric deaths in New York State.
In addition to getting an annual flu shot, it’s important to take everyday preventative actions to stop the spread of germs:• While sick, limit contact with others. If sick with flu-like illness, 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. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
For additional about influenza and the influenza vaccine visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/flu