Influenza 2018-19

A Frank Talk about Flu Shots

Are you ever around babies or young children? Do you visit elderly parents or grandparents? Do any of your friends and family members have asthma? Are any of them pregnant? If the answer is yes to any of these, you need a flu shot and you need it soon.

Even if you are not worried about getting flu yourself, the people in your life depend on you not to give it to them. Staying away from family and friends when you’re sick is considerate, but it is not enough. You can spread flu to others when you do not even know you have it, before you have symptoms.

Flu immunizations take about two weeks to work. They do not give you influenza. If you came into contact with the flu virus just before your shot or shortly after, guess what – you were not protected and you will probably get the flu. Was it after your flu shot? Yes. Was it because of your flu shot? No.

Flu shots can leave you with a sore arm or less commonly, a mild fever for a day or two. These are signs your body is responding to the vaccine and will be ready to fight off the real thing when the time comes. Flu vaccine delivered by nasal spray may result in some congestion.

Let’s talk numbers. Flu is not just a bad cold. Every year about 200,000 Americans are so sick with flu they have to be admitted to the hospital. On average 20,000 people die of flu-related complications. Young children, senior citizens, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses are at highest risk for severe illness. Why risk making other people - people you love – very, very sick.

No immunization works perfectly, but in combination with good handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home while ill; flu vaccine helps protect individuals, families and communities.

Flu is just starting in Western NY. It is not too late to get vaccinated. Call your healthcare provider’s office, pharmacy, or local health department. Do it soon.

Call Ontario County Public Health at 585-396-4343 for more information.

Flu Symptoms versus Cold Symptoms

Knowing the difference between flu and cold symptoms is important when deciding whether to visit your healthcare provider. In general, flu symptoms come on more suddenly, last longer, and are more severe than cold symptoms. Click here to view a tool created by the National Institutes of Health to help figure out if you have a cold or the flu. Most people do not need to see their healthcare provider with a cold or mild flu symptoms. Resting at home is preferable to long waits in crowded waiting rooms, surrounded by coughing people. Avoiding unnecessary visits can help prevent the spread of germs.

Get Immediate Help for:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • Pain or pressure in the chest, upper back, or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worsening cough

Additional Information Available at:
CDC national weekly flu surveillance
NY State DOH weekly flu surveillance
Information for high risk groups
Three strategies to fight the flu
NY State DOH seasonal influenza
What you should know about anti-viral drugs

Last Updated 3/22/2019
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