Oswego County Health Department Reminds Residents to Get Vaccinated Against the Flu

In honor of National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 4-10, the Oswego County Health Department reminds everyone to get their yearly flu shot. Influenza (flu) is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalizations and sometimes even death. While the flu can make anyone sick, certain people are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu.

They include:

• Adults 50 years and older;

• Young children;

• People with chronic lung disease (such as asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurological conditions, and other long-term health conditions and;

• Pregnant women.

The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months of age and older.

“The yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu,” said Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Director of Public Health for Oswego County. “A flu shot can reduce your risk of illness, hospitalization, or even death and can prevent you from spreading the virus to your loved ones.”

Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. While there are many different flu viruses, the 2011-2012 flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research suggests will be most common this season. Even though this year’s vaccine contains the same flu strains as last season’s, it is still important to get vaccinated again this year because immunity from last season’s vaccine will have declined.

Adult flu shots are available at the Oswego County Health Department, 70 Bunner St., Oswego, Monday through Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. No appointment is necessary. Children’s flu shots are available at the regular immunization clinics every Tuesday at the Health Department from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. and the first and third Tuesday of every month at the County Health Clinic in the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski, from 9 to 11 a.m. Shots cost $30 for adults and $15 for children and are covered by Medicaid and Medicare.

Residents should bring insurance cards with them to the clinic. However, no one will be turned away because of inability to pay.

For more information about influenza or influenza vaccine, call the Oswego County Health Department (315) 349-3547 or 1-800-596-322, ext. 3547, or visit www.cdc.gov/flu.