Goshen, N.Y. – With flu season approaching, Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman are reminding and encouraging residents to get a flu shot.
“The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year,” Neuhaus said. “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. That’s why it’s important to get a flu shot annually.”
For the upcoming 2020-21 influenza season, Health Department officials anticipate SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses. The Orange County Department of Health, as per the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidelines, recommends that everyone six months of age and older without contraindications receive the seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible. Young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, and people 65 years of age and older are at an increased risk for flu complications. Since 2010, the “CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9 million and 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths annually.”
“Prevention is key, particularly this year when we want to maintain health care capacity and ensure resources are available to manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” Dr. Gelman noted.
Having the flu can be an awful experience and the influenza season can typically last until May. Dr. 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 experience vomiting and/or diarrhea. According to the CDC, in addition to getting an annual flu shot, it’s especially important this year to follow COVID-19 precautionary measures which will also help prevent the spread of the flu. These include:
- Proper social distancing.
- Wearing a protective face covering.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water aren’t available.
- Staying home when you are feeling sick.
“This year, more than ever, if you can get the flu vaccination, you should,” Dr. Gelman said. “COVID-19 is still prevalent in our community and if we can prevent ourselves from getting the flu, we should absolutely do so.”
The County Health Department is scheduling flu shots by appointment at Health Department offices in Newburgh and Middletown. For more information, contact the Orange County Health Department at 291-4300 or visit its page on the County website at www.orangecountygov.com.