Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman are reminding residents that it is not too late to get a flu shot.
“There is still time to take precautions and get a flu shot,” Neuhaus said. “Serious complications can develop from the flu and having the flu shot can lessen symptoms and save lives.”
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over six months of age. For the 2021-2022 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine. The CDC highlights that the COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at the same time as other vaccines, including influenza vaccine.
CDC data states that the influenza vaccine continues to provide protection against all flu viruses and can reduce the severity of symptoms for those who do get the flu.
Having the flu can be an awful experience and the influenza season can typically last until May. Gelman added that the symptoms of the flu can vary from mild to severe, and often develop quickly. Those symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, chills, and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea.
According to the CDC, in addition to getting an annual flu shot, it’s important to take preventive measures to stop the spread of germs, including the following:
• If you are sick, limit contact with others. If sick with flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine.)
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze and dispose of used tissues immediately.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. or use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water aren’t available.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
“The absolute best gift this holiday season is the health and wellness of our loved ones,” Gelman said. “And the single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year. The body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time and because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and updated as needed to keep up with changing strains. For these reasons, a flu vaccine is needed annually.”
The County Health Department is conducting flu vaccination clinics by appointment only. For more information, contact the Orange County Health Department at 291-4300 or visit its page on the county website.