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Health Department Urges Residents to Get Seasonal Flu Vaccinations

Nassau County Acting Commissioner for Health Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, along with Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano, are urging Nassau County residents to obtain a seasonal flu vaccination. Peak flu season is late winter in our region, but a flu shot now will help protect residents throughout the cold and flu season.

“All families should take an active role with their own preparation and prevention of the flu. It’s a responsibility we all share,” said Mangano. “The flu is a very serious disease and our best defense against it is getting vaccinated.”

Influenza is very contagious. Symptoms include chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, nausea, vomiting, weakness and fatigue. Residents may contract the flu and not feel any symptoms for 24-48 hours, which can place children, family members, seniors and patients at risk. Typically, influenza is transmitted through the air by coughs or sneezes, or by direct contact with nasal secretions, or contaminated surfaces.

Influenza may develop into life threatening symptoms among the elderly, young children and chronically ill patients. Pneumonia is the major serious complication of the flu. Complications in the central nervous system can occur in young children. Approximately 40,000 people die each year from flu-related complications in the United States, and more than 90 percent of the deaths caused by influenza and pneumonia occur among older adults.

Anyone six months of age and older may be vaccinated against the flu. Although this year’s vaccine may be similar to last year’s in flu strain varieties including H1N1, a new vaccination is recommended annually to help protect yourself and those around you. The flu vaccine is also available as a nasal spray for those who qualify.

You cannot catch the flu from a flu shot. Some people may feel a mild immune response after receiving a flu shot, but this is not the actual flu.

The flu vaccine is also available at most chain pharmacies throughout Nassau County, including CVS and Walgreens locations. Vaccinations are usually covered by insurance and/or by Medicare Part B for the elderly. For a listing of flu vaccination dates and locations in Nassau County other than pharmacies within the next several weeks visit www.nassaucountyny.gov.