2012 News Releases

Department of Behavioral & Community Health

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September 27, 2012        Print version


The Truth about Flu Shots

As the flu season approaches, the Department is recommending influenza (flu) vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older. Influenza is an easily spread, severe respiratory illness and it can lead to severe complications. Common symptoms include a fever of 101 or higher, sore throat, chills, cough, headache, and muscle aches. Getting the vaccine is the best protection against this disease. The Department will soon release its 2012-13 Influenza and Pneumonia Clinic Schedule.  

There are many myths surrounding flu vaccine that keep people from being vaccinated and put the most vulnerable at risk of serious illness, hospitalization and even death.   It is important to dispel these myths and know the facts.

Myth #1: The flu shot can cause the flu. 
Fact:  The flu shot does not contain the live virus so it is impossible to get flu from the vaccine. Unlike the flu shot, the nasal spray flu vaccine does contain live viruses. However, the viruses are attenuated (weakened) and cannot cause flu illness. People who have the flu spread it to others, mainly by droplets when they cough, sneeze or talk. Some persons can be infected with the flu virus and have no symptoms, but they may still spread the virus to others.

Myth #2: The flu isn’t a serious disease. 
Fact:  Flu is a severe respiratory illness that is easily spread and can lead to severe complications, even death. The number of pediatric deaths range from a low of 46 during the 2005-2006 season, to a high of 282 reported during the 2009-2010 season, which includes those deaths which occurred during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. 

Myth #3: The flu shot doesn’t work.
Fact: Many common respiratory and stomach infections are mistakenly referred to as “the flu.” The flu shot won’t protect you from the common cold or from viral gastroenteritis, often called the “stomach flu.”

Myth #4:   Only older people need flu vaccine.
Fact:   Although rates of serious illness are highest among people 65 years of age and older, children less than 2 years of age, and those with a chronic medical condition, ANYONE can become ill with the flu.

Myth #5:  The side effects are worse than the flu.
Fact:  The worst side effect you’re likely to get from a shot is a sore arm. The nasal mist flu vaccine might cause nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat and cough. The risk of a severe allergic reaction is less than 1 in 4 million.

Myth #6:   It’s not necessary to be immunized every year.
Fact:  The types of flu viruses in the community change from year to year, so a new vaccine must be made each year to help protect against the current strains.

Myth #7:   You must get the flu shot before December.
Fact:   While October, November, and December are key months to be vaccinated, flu vaccine can be given throughout the flu season. In many seasons, flu activity doesn’t peak until winter or early spring. In fact, this past year we saw cases of influenza in May and June.  So as long as the flu virus is circulating, it’s a good idea to get vaccinated.

Contact your healthcare provider today to arrange for your flu vaccination.  Many area pharmacies are also offering vaccination, log onto www.findaflushot.com. The Dutchess County Department of Health’s Flu Clinic Schedule will be posted soon on the County’s website  dutchessny.gov, Facebook, and Twitter, but in the meantime, Flu Vaccinations will be available beginning October 1st at our Adult Immunization and Screening Clinics held on Mondays from 1pm to 3pm at our office on 387 Main Street, Poughkeepsie.  The Department of Health’s fee schedule for the 2012-2013 Flu Season is $32 for the flu shot; $40 for FluMist, and the fee for the pneumonia vaccine is $75. Influenza and Pneumococcal vaccines are covered by Medicare Part B; individuals must bring card to the clinic. Adults enrolled in Medicare HMOs may be required to pay the fee.

Please visit http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CountyGov/Departments/Health/HDfluscheds.htm for further information about how you can protect yourself, your family, and your community against the flu and other diseases.

 

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A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH,Commissioner of Behavioral & Community Health A. K. Vaidian, MD, MPH
Commissioner of Behavioral & Community Health
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