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Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2018
Contact: John Lyon, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                 Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512

FLU NOW WIDESPREAD IN NEW YORK STATE

Best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu vaccine - it's not too late!

NEW CITY, NY - - Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert inform residents that the New York State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Howard Zucker, has declared that influenza (flu) is now prevalent, or widespread in New York, with several cases being reported in Rockland County.

The best way to prevent the flu, and its complications, is by getting the flu vaccine each year. It's not too late! The Health Department will be giving the flu vaccine on Fridays, until March 1st, from 11 am to 12 pm, by appointment only. Call (845) 364-2534 for more information and to make an appointment. You can also check with your doctor and your child's doctor, or visit www.flu.gov/ for places to get the flu vaccine in our area.

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. There is a $20 fee (down from $25 last year) for those 6 months through 64 years old. Only 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. The Health Department is giving the quadrivalent flu vaccine which does not contain preservatives, including thimerosal. The vaccine is called quadrivalent because it offers protection against four different flu virus strains that research shows will be most common during this flu season: two influenza (flu) A virus strains and two influenza B virus strains. It is recommended that you wait for 15 minutes after being vaccinated so you can be observed for any reactions.

The flu vaccine offers protection for you through 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. Getting the flu vaccine is the single best step to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu. It also is a good time to make sure that you are up-to-date on your other vaccines, which can protect you against diseases such as measles and whooping cough," said Dr. Ruppert.

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 – 2534 or visit http://bit.ly/1yCjluS .