NEW CITY, NY – – Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert are urging everyone six months and older to receive a flu vaccine as cases of influenza (flu) rise across the state.

The Health Department will be offering a special flu vaccine clinic in Haverstraw on Thursday, February 22 from 4 pm – 6 pm at the WIC office, located at 26 New Main Street, Suite 1, Haverstraw, NY 10927. No appointments are needed.

The Health Department is offering the flu vaccine free of charge if you: are 65 years and older (please bring identification with proof of age); have Medicare or Medicaid (please bring your card); or are uninsured or underinsured. For those 6 months through 64 years old, there is a $25 fee (down from $30 last year). Cash or checks will be accepted. For those with private health insurance, we will provide you with a receipt to submit to your health insurance for possible reimbursement.

You can also call the Health Department at (845) 364-2534 to make an appointment to receive the flu vaccine at the Health Department in Pomona, or check with your doctor and your child’s doctor, or visit https://vaccinefinder.org/ to find other flu vaccine clinics in our area.

In recent weeks, new cases have been diagnosed in all counties of the state, and reported hospitalizations with laboratory-confirmed flu are at record highs. “The flu is a serious disease. It can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. The most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu is by getting a flu vaccination,” said Dr. Ruppert.

According to the New York State Department of Health, vaccinations should continue throughout flu season, as long as flu viruses are circulating. Flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, but remains the best way to prevent illness and flu complications, including those that can lead to hospitalization. Even when flu vaccine does not prevent illness, it still lessens the severity and shortens the duration of the flu.

Unlike a cold, flu symptoms come on fast and may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People infected with influenza may have respiratory symptoms without a fever. “People with the flu should drink plenty of liquids, rest and contact their health care provider if they feel very ill or do not seem to rebound after a few days. If you think you have the flu, you should stay home to avoid spreading it to others,” said Dr. Ruppert.

If you are sick with the flu symptoms, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that you stay at home at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without use of fever reducing medication, and limit contact with others to reduce risk of infecting others. Most importantly, wash your hands as often as possible with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub when water is not available.

The New York State Department of Health recommends that people who are very sick, or people who are sick and at high risk of serious complications of the flu, be treated early with flu antiviral drugs. Antiviral drugs work best when started within two days of symptoms first appearing. “People at high risk for complications of flu should contact their health care provider as soon as they develop flu-like symptoms,” said Dr. Ruppert.

Since the flu virus can spread through coughing or sneezing, it is especially important for family members and people who have regular contact with high-risk individuals to be vaccinated. Those at highest risk for complications from flu include people 65 years and older, children younger than five years old, pregnant women and people of any age with chronic, long-term health problems such as heart or lung disease, kidney problems, diabetes, asthma, anemia, HIV/AIDS or other illnesses that suppress the immune system.

For more information on the current flu season and how to protect yourself and your family, visit the State Health Department web site at www.health.ny.gov/flu. To find a flu vaccine near you, visit https://vaccinefinder.org/

# # #

Follow us on Twitter: @rocklandgov
Follow us on Instagram: instagram.com/rocklandcountyny
Like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/rocklandgov
Visit our website: rocklandgov.com