Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Protect yourself and your loved ones with a flu shot. The flu vaccine is still the best protection against the flu. A flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths that typically impact up to 20 percent of our nation’s population each year.
The Atlantic County Division of Public Health is providing 13 public flu shot clinics for those 18 years and older beginning October 2 through November 6. There is a $15 fee for flu shots, however, there is no out-of-pocket cost for residents with Medicare Part B coverage who present their card at the time of vaccination.
“We have been providing these clinics for many years as one of several services to help protect the health and wellness of our residents,” County Executive Dennis Levinson stated. “The flu can be deadly which is why we urge the public to get their flu shots whether from us, their own healthcare providers, or community pharmacies. The most important thing is to get a flu shot.”
Flu season can be as unpredictable as the virus, but the highest number of cases are typically reported between October and April. The flu vaccine is produced to protect against influenza virus strains that research indicates may be most prevalent during the flu season. The vaccine does not contain live flu virus so flu shots cannot cause the flu.
According to a new study conducted over multiple flu seasons and supported by the Centers for Disease Control, getting a flu shot lessened the risk of severe influenza among adults, including reducing the risk of hospitalization and ICU admissions, as well as the severity of the illness.
“Although it cannot prevent all cases of the flu, a flu shot can reduce the likelihood of contracting the virus in combination with practicing precautions such as covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands frequently, and cleaning commonly or frequently touched items,” said Patricia Diamond, Atlantic County Health Officer.“Because it may take up to two weeks for the antibodies to develop in your body, the sooner you get a shot the better.”
Flu symptoms may include fever, headaches, extreme fatigue, chest discomfort, cough, muscle aches and pains. Complications from the virus may include: bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes.
The effects of influenza are especially concerning to adults over age 65, those with chronic medical conditions, women who will be pregnant during flu season, healthcare providers and home caregivers who provide direct patient care. These individuals are strongly urged to receive a flu shot. Parents and guardians of children 6 months to 18 years of age should consult their child's physician.
If you contract the flu drink plenty of liquids, get plenty of rest and contact your healthcare provider.
In addition to the public flu clinics, flu shots will also be administered to walk-ins beginning Monday, September 30 in two locations: Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 12 Noon, at the Stillwater Building in Northfield, 201 S. Shore Road, and every Tuesday, 10 AM to 12 Noon, at 310 Bellevue Avenue, Hammonton, while supplies last.
Free blood pressure screenings will also be available at all public and walk-in flu clinics.
As an added convenience, residents may schedule a flu shot appointment online for any of the public clinics at www.aclink.org/flu. However, appointments are not required; walk-ins will continue to be welcome at all locations.
For a complete schedule of public flu clinics visit www.aclink.org/flu where you may also learn more about seasonal flu. For additional information call the Division of Public Health at (609) 645-5933.