New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has declared a public health emergency in response to what is becoming one of the worst flu outbreaks in recent years. All unvaccinated people are encouraged to get immunized immediately. Vaccines are available at CHCR by appointment.
The state of emergency also means that pharmacists can vaccinate children older than 6 months old. To find other flu vaccine providers near you, go to http://flushot.healthmap.org/ and enter your zip code or call 1-800-522-5000. If you have special health concerns or questions about whether you should get a flu vaccine, contact your doctor.
While this year’s flu vaccine is a good match for the virus going around, it does not provide 100 percent protection. Also, it takes two weeks after receiving the vaccine to develop immunity to the virus. So, you should take precautions to avoid infection even if you have been vaccinated.
Reduce your risk
• Wash hands often, especially before eating.
• Use an alcohol-based sanitizer to clean hands frequently.
• Wipe surfaces and faucet handles with disinfectant wipes.
• Avoid hugging, kissing and shaking hands.
• Avoid touching your own face, eyes and mouth.
• Eat a healthy diet, exercise and getting plenty of sleep.
If you do get sick, drink lots of fluids, rest and stay home. For mild cases, over-the-counter medicines can provide some relief from symptoms and reduce fever. However, never give aspirin to a child (anyone younger than 18) who has the flu or another virus.
The elderly, people with compromised immune systems and the very young are most vulnerable. However, even otherwise healthy people can die from a flu infection. So be alert to cases that seem to worsen suddenly, especially in children. Seek medical attention promptly for a persistently high fever (102 degrees F or more), dehydration or extreme lethargy. See a doctor if a cough lasts for more than two weeks, as a persistent cough may be a sign of a secondary infection such as pneumonia or bronchitis.