Monday, January 22, 2018
This season’s flu outbreak has reached epidemic proportions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with more than 100 deaths a week since December and widespread activity in every state in the country.
The Atlantic County Division of Public Health reminds residents that it is not too late to get a flu shot to help provide protection for you and your loved ones.
Flu shots are available to adults 18 years and older on a walk-in basis at two county locations. Monday through Friday, 9 AM – 12 noon, at 201 S. Shore Road, 1st floor clinic, Northfield and every Tuesday, 10 AM – 12 noon at 310 Bellevue Avenue in Hammonton.
“Although this year’s vaccine is only about 30% effective against the prevailing H3Ns virus strain, it can reduce the likelihood of contracting the virus or the severity of the illness,” stated Patricia Diamond, Atlantic County Public Health Officer.
Diamond also noted that the vaccine does not contain live flu virus so a flu shot cannot cause the flu.
The flu season typically peaks during the winter and after the holidays when people are more likely to travel and socialize in larger groups.
Health officials emphasize that it can take up to two weeks for the antibodies in the vaccine to develop in your body so the sooner you get a flu shot the better. Protection lasts several months to a year.
Flu symptoms may include fever, headaches, extreme fatigue, chest discomfort, cough, muscle aches and pains. Complications from the virus may result in bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.
The effects of this year’s virus are especially concerning to children with 30 pediatric deaths caused by influenza or related symptoms since October and 10 within the week of January 6-13, as reported by the CDC. Parents and guardians of children 6 months to 18 years of age should consult their child’s physician for a flu shot.
Adult flu shots are available for $15. No appointment is necessary. There is no out-of-pocket fee for Medicare Part B recipients who present their card.
For more information about the flu visit www.atlantic-county.org/flu or call (609) 645-5935.