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Health Departments have advice for fighting the flu

Posted 7 December 2018 at 9:38 am

Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Public Health Column

The Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming County Health Departments are challenging county residents to choose “Healthy Behaviors” during National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 2-8. ’Tis the season of influenza (flu), where keeping hands clean and covering up coughs/sneezes are friendly ways of not spreading the flu to others.

We are encouraging everyone who can to get the flu shot this year as a good way to be safe from the flu. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that a flu vaccination has many benefits, which can prevent you from getting sick with the flu.

CDC also states that during the 2017-2018 flu season the flu vaccine prevented 49 million flu illnesses, 79,000 deaths and 960,000 flu-related hospitalizations. For anyone over 6 months old, please get the flu shot as a healthy and safe gift to yourself and your family this holiday season. Being vaccinated will help to protect babies (less than 6 months old) and individuals with medical conditions who cannot receive the flu vaccine.

It takes about two weeks after getting the flu vaccine for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so making plans now is a wise choice. Per the CDC, children aged 6 months to 8 years old require 2 doses of flu vaccine (administered ≥ 4 weeks apart) if they have never been vaccinated against flu before, their vaccination history is unknown,  or they haven’t received 2 doses  before July 1, 2016.

“Influenza activity is increasing each week throughout New York State,” stated Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services for Genesee and Orleans. “Laboratory cases so far this season have been confirmed in Genesee and Wyoming counties.”

Tips to stay healthy during the flu season:

• Wash your hands throughout the day with soap and water, or sanitizer when you’re not by a sink.

• Cover up coughs and sneezes with your arm or tissue. Be sure to wash your hands after a cough or sneeze.

• Limit handshaking and hugs during the flu season.

• Clean and disinfect commonly touched items, including but not limited to, phones, computers, other electronic items, countertops/surfaces, door knobs and toys.

To learn more about the flu visit the New York State Department of Health web site, click here.

For information about the Orleans County Health Department services, call (585) 589-3278 or check out the website.  Visit Facebook at: Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments and Twitter: @GoHealthNY.

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