After November, when you see signs that advertise “Get Your Flu Vaccine Here,” you might think, “Isn’t it too late for that?”
However, health officials advise that as long as flu viruses are spreading, it’s not too late to get a vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones.
“Flu season typically peaks between December and February, but significant activity can occur as late as May,” said Jiancheng Huang, Public Health Director for Oswego County. “We are encouraging people who have not yet been vaccinated this season to get vaccinated now.”
For millions of people every year, the flu can mean a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed.
However, many people may not realize that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States from flu complications each year.
The flu also can be deadly.
Although the effectiveness of the flu vaccine can vary due to a variety of factors, the benefits of vaccination are well-documented.
“Studies show that flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths,” said Jodi Martin, Supervising Public Health Nurse with the Oswego County Health Department.
Millions of doses of influenza vaccine have been administered to people safely for decades.
“Getting the flu vaccine is simple, and it’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu,” added Martin.
The Center for Disease Control and Protection recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone six months and older.
Some people are at higher risk for serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, that can lead to hospitalization and even death.
This includes young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older, and people with certain medical conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart disease.
For those at high risk for complications, getting the flu vaccine is especially important.
It’s also important to get the vaccine if you care for anyone at high risk, including babies younger than six months who are too young to get the vaccine.
Flu vaccine is available as a shot and as a nasal spray.
Contact your healthcare provider or the Oswego County Health Department, weekdays at 349-3547, to find out what vaccine is best for you.
Children’s flu shots are available at the Oswego County Health Department’s regularly scheduled immunization clinics Tuesdays from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego, and the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.
Influenza immunization clinics are held weekdays for adults age 19 and older from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at the Nick Sterio Health Clinic. No appointment is needed; walk-ins are welcome.
Adults may also receive flu shots the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.
For more information on flu contact the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 349-3547.