OSWEGO, NY – Flu season is in full swing. If you or your loved ones have not received a flu vaccine yet, the Oswego County Health Department advises you to get vaccinated today.
The flu vaccine is readily available at the Oswego County Health Department, area pharmacies and local health care providers.
“Currently we are seeing a large number of cases, about double the amount that was seen this time last year,” said Jodi Martin, supervising public health nurse with the Oswego County Health Department.
While this year’s flu vaccine may not be as effective as healthcare providers would like, there are still benefits to getting vaccinated.
“The flu vaccine can protect against several strains of flu, so even if the match isn’t good for H3N2 strain currently circulating, it may be for strains that might become more active later in the flu season,” said Diane Oldenburg, senior public health educator with the Oswego County Health Department.
In addition, the flu vaccine may lessen the severity of flu in those that do contract the virus.
Those experiencing flu like symptoms should contact their healthcare providers to discuss the need for antiviral medications.
This is particularly important for those at high risk for complications from the flu such as children younger than 2 and adults 65 years of age and older, those with chronic health conditions like asthma, cardiovascular disease, renal disease, those who are immune compromised or have neurologic disorders, diabetes, cerebral palsy, women who are pregnant, and those that are morbidly obese (BMI of 40 or greater).
“The best way to protect against the flu is to get a flu vaccine every flu season,” warned Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang.
The flu is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization or even death.
Everyone 6 months of age and older is recommended to get vaccinated against the flu every year.
It is important to remember other everyday health habits that can help prevent the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses:
• If you’re sick with the flu, stay home until you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication
• Wash hands frequently
• Cover coughs and sneezes
• Stay home if you are sick
• Stay away from people that are sick
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
The Oswego County Health Department offers flu shots on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at its office located at 70 Bunner St., Oswego.
In addition, flu shots are available on the third Tuesday of the month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Pulaski Office, located in the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse on Jefferson Street, Pulaski.
Parents are asked to bring children 18 years of age and younger to the regularly scheduled immunization clinics on Tuesday afternoons in Oswego or to the Pulaski office on the third Tuesday of the month.
The cost of the flu vaccine is $37.
Medicare and Medicaid cover the cost of the vaccine.
Those with private insurance should bring their insurance cards with them.
Protect yourself from the flu and get vaccinated today if you haven’t already – it’s not too late!
For more information about the flu or getting a flu shot contact the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3547.