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February 19, 2019

Flu is on the Rise; Get Vaccinated, It's Not Too Late!

OSWEGO COUNTY - Flu activity is on the rise in Oswego County! The Oswego County Health Department reports that the number of reported flu cases in the county has doubled over the last few weeks. If you or your loved ones have not received a flu vaccine yet, it's not too late.

"We expect increases in flu cases to continue in the coming weeks," said Jodi Martin, supervising public health nurse with the Oswego County Health Department. "Flu remains widespread throughout New York State, and we are seeing an increase in the number of cases reported in Oswego County as well."

Martin said the best way to protect yourself and your family from getting the flu is by getting the flu shot. "There's still time to get vaccinated," she added.

Flu vaccine protects in many ways. It can reduce one's risk of flu illness, doctors' visits, and missed work or school days due to flu. If you are vaccinated and still get sick, flu vaccine can reduce the severity of your illness. Flu vaccination can also help protect women during and after pregnancy and protect the baby for several months after birth. Flu vaccine has been shown to save children's lives, prevent serious complications associated with chronic lung disease, diabetes, and heart disease. It can also prevent flu-related hospitalization among working-age adults and older adults.

"Getting vaccinated isn't just about keeping you healthy; it's also about helping to protect others around you who may be vulnerable to becoming very sick, such as babies, older adults, and pregnant women," said Martin.

Diane Oldenburg, senior public health educator with the Oswego County Health Department said, "Everyone six months of age and older should be vaccinated, especially people aged 65 or older, who are more likely to develop severe complications such as pneumonia or die from the flu.

"It's easy to get the flu vaccine and it's the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu," she added.

In addition, health officials remind everyone to follow these everyday habits to help prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses.

The Oswego County Health Department offers flu shots Monday through Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. at the office located at 70 Bunner Street in Oswego. No appointment is needed. In addition, flu shots are available the third Tuesday of every month from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Health Department offices in the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse in Pulaski. Appointments are required for the Pulaski clinic. Those planning to visit one of these locations should bring all insurance cards with them.

The cost of the flu vaccine is $41 for both adults and children, and $70 for anyone over 65 years of age who is requesting the high-dose vaccination. The health department accepts cash or checks for payment. The department also accepts UMR, Empire, Fidelis, Excellus/BC, United Health Care, Medicare, and Medicaid. For those covered by other insurance providers, the health department will provide a receipt that may be submitted to an insurance provider for possible reimbursement. For those who are uninsured, the county health department may be able to provide the vaccine at a reduced rate. No one will be turned away due to inability to pay.

For more information about the flu or getting a flu shot, contact the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3547.

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