A Flu Alert has been issued by the Genesee County Health Department:
ALERT: Over the last few weeks, flu cases are on the rise locally and throughout New York! The flu virus tends to spread from October to May, with most cases occurring in January or February.
“It is important to note that vaccinations can be given at any time during the flu season," said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. "Even getting a vaccination later in the season (December through March) can still help protect you from influenza."
For information on positive influenza laboratory results reported to the New York State Department of Health by season, click on the link below:
It is important to call your doctor, pharmacist or health department to make sure they have a supply of flu vaccine in stock before going.
Everyone six months and older should be vaccinated against the flu. The vaccine can help protect you from getting the flu, and it can help protect the ones you love. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you get the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available to you, even if you got vaccinated last season.
There are two main reasons for getting the flu vaccine every year. The flu viruses constantly change, so vaccines are often updated from one season to the next to protect against the most recent and the most common viruses going around. The other reason is, the protection a person gets from receiving a flu vaccination declines over time. For example, if you are vaccinated in November, 10 months down the road your protection against that year’s flu is not as strong as it was when you originally were vaccinated.
Anyone, even healthy people, can get sick from the flu. This illness can be very serious, and can lead to hospitalizations and even death. According to the CDC, each year in the United States a range of 3,000 to 49,000 people die from the flu or flu-associated illnesses. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/us_flu-related_deaths.htm
“Being vaccinated every flu season is especially important for those at high risk for serious flu-related complications. It is also as important for those who live with or care for people who are at high risk,” said Paul Pettit, director of Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.
People with higher risks for flu-related complications are:
- Pregnant women (can only receive flu shots, not the nasal-spray flu vaccine) to provide protection for themselves and their babies;
- Children younger than five, but especially children younger than 2 years old;
- Adults age 65 and older;
- Individuals with a chronic medical condition such as asthma, diabetes, HIV, etc.;
- Residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;
- People who life with or care for those at high risk of complications from the flu, including health care personnel, household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children younger than 6 months (these children are too young to be vaccinated), and caregivers of infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units.
Flu-related complications can result in hospitalization and occasionally result in death. Complications include pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus or ear infections. The flu also can make chronic health problems worse. For example, those who have asthma, often experience more asthma attacks when they are ill with the flu.
It is also important to know there are some people who should not be vaccinated. They include:
- Children younger than 6 months;
- People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past;
- People who have developed Guillain- Barré syndrome within six weeks of getting a flu vaccination;
- If you have a severe allergy to chicken eggs, you can get the flu shot, but you will need to be supervised by a health care provider for at least 30 minutes after vaccination;
- People who are sick with fever.
More information about the flu is available at the State Health Department Web Site at: www.health.ny.gov/immunization.
For information about influenza or health department services contact: