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Local Health Organizations ask all Central NY Residents to Get a Flu Shot

October 1, 2013

The weather is getting colder and the flu season will soon be a factor in the Mohawk Valley. Healthcare organizations from a three-county region are joining forces to promote ways to prevent a flu outbreak in our communities. Led by the Health Departments of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties, our hospitals, nursing homes, healthcare centers and medical professionals want the public to know how to stay safe.

1. Get a Flu Shot. Any person 6 months of age or older can get the shot. Vaccinations are available from a variety of sources including physicians or local pharmacies. Some local senior centers provide vaccines. Your county health department can be a valuable resource in locating these flu clinics. Residents are urged to get the vaccine to prevent getting sick and to prevent spreading the flu to people with whom they may come in contact. The flu can be contagious before symptoms appear, so the best way to prevent it is to get vaccinated. Those concerned about allergies should contact their family physicians.

2. Take the proper precautions to prevent the spread of the flu. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizers when necessary. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.  Carry and use tissues.  Don’t go out if you are sick, and don’t take your children out if they are sick. Hospital and nursing home staff are especially concerned about visitors bringing flu into their facilities. Think about the loved one you want to visit. If you are sick, or your child is sick, or you have been exposed to the flu virus, the best thing you can do for someone in the hospital or nursing home is to stay home.

3. In an effort to better protect the public health, hospital, nursing home and healthcare center staff who do not get a flu shot will be required to wear masks when working. These masks will help prevent the spread of flu germs to those they serve, as well as help protect the unvaccinated worker from the flu. This new state rule applies to anyone working, volunteering, or providing contracted services to a hospital, nursing home or healthcare facility. This regulation applies to any healthcare facility, residential facility or agency licensed under article 28 of the Public Health Law. It includes, but is not limited to, hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostic and treatment centers, adult day healthcare facilities, certified home health agencies, and long-term home healthcare programs.

The healthcare community of the Mohawk Valley is working together to inform the public on the importance of taking these steps to prevent the spread of the flu. We ask the community at large to join us. For more information on the flu vaccine, contact your County Health Department.

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