Modified: September 26, 2016 3:16pm
From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein
Date September 26, 2016
CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov
Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925
Don’t “Fall” into Flu Season without Protection
Changing Leaves? Time for Your Flu Shot.
ERIE COUNTY, NY— It is officially Fall, and with seasonal reminders such as apples, pumpkins, and Halloween decorations all around, can flu shots be far behind? Erie County residents are strongly encouraged to receive this year’s influenza (“flu”) vaccine as soon as possible in order to build up antibodies to the influenza viruses. County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and Erie County Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale Burstein, led the way this afternoon by receiving their annual flu vaccines.
“As part of our ongoing effort to improve our state of health in Erie County, I am pleased to get immunized today as a good example to fellow Erie County residents,” said Poloncarz. “Remember, by being vaccinated against the flu, you can avoid missing your favorite fall activities, becoming ill, or worse, passing the illness onto a loved one.”
“Why get a flu vaccine? No one likes to be sick, and influenza can sometimes lead to severe respiratory illness requiring hospitalization and in some cases can be fatal,” stated Dr. Burstein. “You will not only lessen your chance of getting the flu, you will also limit the likelihood of passing the virus onto family members or colleagues who have a chronic illness or to a newborn infant, for whom influenza can be a very serious health concern.”
What exactly is the Flu? Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, which can cause mild to severe illness. It is especially important for certain people at high risk for serious flu complications to get vaccinated. Those people include:
- Individuals with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, morbid obesity, cardiovascular disease, or chronic lung disease
- Young children, especially those under 2 years of age
- Women who are pregnant or have recently given birth
- People 65 years and older
- Individuals residing in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
- People who are immunosuppressed, where their body’s immune system or ability to fight off infection may be impaired
- People who live with, or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications
- Health care providers
Why get a flu vaccine? Influenza can lead to severe respiratory illness requiring hospitalization and in some cases can be fatal. The flu season can last as late as May. Flu vaccines protect against three or four flu virus strains (depending upon the type of vaccine you receive). The flu vaccine is readily available in Erie County physicians’ offices, pharmacies and other community sites.
“Fall is a great time to protect your children against the flu. Indoor group settings, like classrooms, facilitate virus spread,” said Dr. Burstein. “Children are more likely to be infected with the flu than adults. They are contagious and likely to pass the virus on to others in the family.”
To Stay Healthy Frequent hand-washing is crucial so that illness is not spread from one person to another. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially after using the toilet or changing diapers. Always wash your hands before eating, preparing and handling food. When sneezing or coughing, be sure to turn away from others and use a tissue to cover your mouth or nose. Sneeze into the crook or your arm, rather than into your hands.
For more information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)