2017 - 2018 Influenza (Flu) Season

Flu activity is currently sporadic (small numbers of lab-confirmed cases reported) in New York State, including in Rockland County.

The flu is not just a really 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.

Did you know that the best way to prevent the flu, and its complications, is by getting the flu vaccine each year? It's the single best step to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu. Everyone six months of age and older should get the flu vaccine each year.

Although there are no Health Department flu vaccine clinics scheduled at this time, you can call us at (845) 364-2520 to make an appointment to come to the Health Department to get your flu vaccine. You can also check with your doctor and your child's doctor, or visit www.flu.gov/ to find flu vaccine clinics in our area. The flu vaccine offers protection for you through the rest of the flu season.

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)
  • are uninsured or underinsured

There is a $25 fee (down from $30 last year) for those 6 months through 64 years old. 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.

For more information about the flu and the flu vaccine visit these websites:

To download or order educational posters and brochures (in multiple languages) visit www.health.ny.gov

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.

Though the single best way to prevent getting the flu is to get the flu vaccine each year, washing your hands often will help protect you from getting and spreading germs, and can cut your flu risk in half.

What is the right way to wash your hands? Remember: Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, and Dry:

  • Wet your hands with clean, warm, running water and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well for at least 20 seconds; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel. In public restrooms, shut the faucet off with the paper towel and exit the door using the paper towel on the handle. The Cleveland Clinic suggests that you avoid high-speed jet air dryers in public restrooms. Research shows that they spread, rather than remove, germs. The same is true to a lesser extent for warm air dryers.

Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub for 15 seconds and follow label instructions. Caution: swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning. Keep it out of the reach of young children.

For more information about handwashing and disease prevention, visit the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website at www.cdc.gov/handwashing/