TOMS RIVER – The Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) is urging residents to get a flu shot this year as it may be more important than ever to stop the spread of respiratory illness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year the flu causes millions of illnesses and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations. Preliminary data suggests there were estimated 24,000-62,000 flu deaths for the 2019-20 influenza season in the country.
While it remains unclear what will happen in the months to come, when there will be COVID-19 and flu at the same time, it could place a tremendous burden on our health care systems.
That’s why the OCHD is urging everyone to do their part to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu and COVID-19.
Getting a flu shot, continuing to follow social distancing measures and wearing a mask will help in mitigating the spread of both viruses.
County Freeholder Gerry P. Little said, “the influenza vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, but it does have important benefits.”
Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health added that “getting a flu shot can lower your risk of getting sick, being hospitalized or dying from flu. If you’ve never had a flu shot, this is certainly the year to visit one of our clinics and to get one especially with COVID-19 being another potentially deadly respiratory illness.”
Getting a flu vaccine is something everyone can do to reduce the impact of flu. It not only will protect yourself and your community, but it will
protect the medical providers on the frontlines who will continue to deal with COVID-19.
Flu Prevention Tips:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wear a facial coverings when in the public.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Get a flu shot every year.
Important Flu Facts
- All people 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against seasonal flu every year.
- Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.
- Vaccination is especially important for pregnant women and people with chronic diseases.
- The flu vaccine protects against several different flu viruses (strains). Flu vaccines are updated every year to better match the viruses circulating in the public.
- Getting the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu! The vaccine is made with inactive (killed) virus strains which are not infectious.
The OCHD just released its 2020 Influenza and Pneumonia Clinic schedule with a full set of dates to be held all over the county in its on-going effort to ensure every segment of our communities are covered. The complete schedule and other requirements can be found at ochd.org