OSWEGO COUNTY – The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs.
It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to hospitalization or death.
People of every age, including people in good health, are at risk of flu.
People who get the flu vaccine also protect the people around them, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people and people with certain chronic health conditions.
“While the start and length of the flu season can be unpredictable, we do know that flu will impact our community this winter and that it’s not too late to be vaccinated to help fight the flu,” said Jodi Martin, Supervising Public Health Nurse with the Preventive Services division of the Oswego County Health Department.
The health department reminds people that they have the power to protect themselves and their families this season by taking these three actions to fight flu:
1. Get a flu vaccine. Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible. A yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.
2. Take everyday actions to stop the spread of germs. Try to avoid close contact with sick people, and if you become sick, limit your contact with others. When possible, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. If you get the flu, prescription medicine called antiviral drugs can be used to treat flu illness. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
“Getting the flu vaccine is easy, and it’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu,” said Diane Oldenburg, Senior Public Health Educator with the Oswego County Health Department.
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, health departments, pharmacies, health centers, as well as by many employers.
The Oswego County Health Department offers flu shots Monday through Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at the office located at 70 Bunner St., Oswego.
No appointment is needed. In addition, flu shots are available the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Health Department offices in the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse, Pulaski.
Appointments are required for the Pulaski clinic.
To make an appointment, call 315-349-3547.
Those planning to visit one of the county health department locations should bring immunization records and all insurance cards with them.
The cost of the influenza vaccination is $41 for both adults and children and $66 for those more than 65 years of age who request the High Dose Flu Vaccine.
The health department only accepts cash or checks for payment.
The department accepts all POMCO plans, Empire, Excellus BCBS, Fidelis, United Health Care (ONLY Medicare and Medicaid Plans), Medicaid, and Medicare.
For those covered by other insurance providers, the health department will provide a receipt that may be submitted to an insurance provider for possible reimbursement.
For those who are uninsured, the county health department may be able to provide the vaccine at a reduced rate.
No one will be turned away due to inability to pay.
“You have the power to fight flu this season,” Oldenburg pointed out. “Protect yourself and the ones you love with a flu shot.”
To learn more about how to fight flu this season, or to schedule an appointment for the Pulaski clinic, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3547.