As Flu Activity Increases – Oswego County Health Department Urges Residents to Stay Home When Sick

OSWEGO – With cases of flu increasing, the Oswego County Health Department is urging residents to stay home if they are sick and follow other preventive measures to limit the spread of the flu.

“Flu activity is currently present in Oswego County and increasing across New York State,” said Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County Public Health Director.

The Oswego County Health Department has dispensed more than 750 doses of flu vaccine this fall. The health department has vaccine available, and it is not too late to get a flu shot.

“While vaccine offers the greatest protection from the flu, there are important measures Oswego County residents can take to reduce their chances of getting and spreading the flu,” said Judy Lester, RN, Supervising Public Health Nurse for Oswego County.

Lester urges all residents to take the following measures:
• Get vaccinated!
• Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of your elbow, not your hands. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
• Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Flu spreads that way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• Stay home when you are sick, and do not return to school or work until you have been fever-free without medication for at least 24 hours.

“With flu activity increasing and family and friends gathering for the holidays, it is important to follow these important measures to protect our loved ones,” reminded Diane Oldenburg, Senior Public Health Educator with the Oswego County Health Department.

Walk-in influenza clinics are held weekdays from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego for people age 19 and older. No appointment is needed; walk-ins are welcome.

Children’s flu vaccine is available every Tuesday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Oswego, and the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski. The children’s flu vaccine is available at no cost to all children who qualify for the Vaccines for Children Program provided by the New York State Department of Health.

For those who do not qualify, the cost is $37 for the inactivated vaccine (the shot) and $43 for the flu-mist (nasal vaccine).

Patients with private insurance, Managed Medicaid, Managed Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare, and Medicare Part B should bring their benefit cards with them to the immunization clinic.

No one will be turned away due to inability to pay.

More information on the flu is available on the State Health Department’s website at http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/seasonal/  and on the CDC website at www.flu.gov

Residents with questions about flu vaccine may also call the Health Department at 349-3547.