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Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2016
Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
              Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, DO, MPH, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512

SPREAD HOLIDAY CHEER, NOT THE FLU, THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!
Best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu vaccine - it's not too late!

NEW CITY, NY - - While you are busy preparing for the holidays, take time to get yourself and your family
an important gift of health: the flu vaccine. During National Influenza (Flu) Vaccination Week, December 4 – 10, Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert remind residents that the best way to prevent the flu, and its complications, is by getting the flu vaccine each year.

Flu activity usually peaks between December and February, though activity can last as late as May. The flu vaccine offers protection for you through the holidays, and for the rest of the flu season. "Anyone who hasn't gotten a flu vaccine yet should do so now. It takes about two weeks after getting the flu vaccine for your body to build the antibodies (infection fighting cells) it needs to protect from the flu, just in time for your holiday get-togethers with family and friends. Once vaccinated, you can enjoy this holiday season knowing that you have taken the single best step to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu," said Dr. Ruppert.

There are no Rockland County Department of Health flu vaccine clinics scheduled at this time, however you can call the Health Department at (845) 364-2520 to make an appointment to get your flu vaccine. The Health Department offers the flu vaccine to residents 9 years and older. The vaccine is free of charge to adults 65 years and older (please bring identification with proof of age). Patients with Medicare and Medicaid must bring their cards. There is a $30 fee for those 9 through 64 years old. Each patient must bring proof of Rockland County residency such as a driver's license or utility bill.

The Health Department is giving the quadrivalent flu vaccine which does not contain the preservative thimerosal. The vaccine is called quadrivalent because it offers protection against four different flu viruses that research shows will be most common during this flu season: two influenza (flu) A viruses and two influenza B viruses. Talk to your doctor before getting the flu shot if you have an allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine (talk to your doctor about your allergy); and if you are not feeling well (talk to your doctor about your symptoms). It is recommended that you wait for 15 minutes after being vaccinated so you can be observed for any reactions.

The flu is not just a bad cold! It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Anyone can get sick from the flu. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. Everyone six months of age and older should get the flu vaccine each year. Besides getting your flu vaccine, follow these good health habits to help prevent getting and spreading the flu: avoid close contact with people who are sick; stay home when you are sick; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; wash your hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; and practice other good health habits, such as get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

For more information call the Health Department at (845) 364 – 2520 or visit http://bit.ly/1yCjluS.