The start of October also signals the beginning of flu season, and Delaware County Council reminds all residents about the importance of getting an annual flu shot.
Whether it’s the standard flu shot, the needle-free squirt-in-the nose option or the new smaller needle version, a flu vaccination is the best way to guard against the flu.
County Council and the County Department of Intercommunity Health Coordination (ICH) launched its annual flu prevention campaign at the Sept. 25 County Council meeting.
The fall campaign includes a free Drive-Thru Flu Clinic set from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at the Tinicum Township Firehouse, 99 Wanamaker Avenue, Essington, as well as an extensive public education campaign. The clinic is offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in collaboration with County Council and the Delaware County Flu Task Force,
Delaware County’s flu prevention campaign is conducted by County Council, ICH and the county’s Senior Medical Advisor Dr. George Avetian, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DoH), and members of the Delaware County Flu Task Force.
“Receiving the flu vaccine is the first and most important step in preventing the flu and decreasing the risk of severe flu-related illnesses,” said County Councilwoman Colleen P. Morrone. “Each year, 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized due to complications from the flu. To stay healthy, protect yourself and others by getting a flu shot.”
Dr. Avetian said everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated against the flu, and sufficient supplies of vaccine are now available. People at the greatest risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart and chronic lung disease and individuals age 65 and older.
Flu season usually occurs from fall through early spring. The peak of flu season has occurred anywhere from late November through March. The overall health impact of the flu, including infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, varies from year to year.
“We recommend that everyone seek a flu vaccination from their family physician or at a public flu shot clinic, perhaps at their pharmacy,” Dr. Avetian said.
He said efforts are being made to reach out to the entire community including senior citizens and members of the county’s culturally and ethnically diverse population.
In addition to immunization, there are everyday preventative measures that inhibit the spread of influenza virus, including frequent hand-washing with antibacterial soap, covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, proper disposal of tissues, and, if you are sick with flu–like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
Dr. Avetian also reminds people to contact their physician if they develop flu symptoms.
“There are effective antiviral medications that are not antibiotics which can make flu symptoms less intense and of shorter duration,” he said. “These are prescription medications and are not available over-the -counter.”
Flu Prevention Resources
- Drive-Thru Clinic: A free drive-thru flu shot clinic will be held 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at the Tinicum Township firehouse, 99 Wanamaker Ave., Essington. People will be asked to complete a brief screening to determine if they are allergic to eggs, or have ever had a reaction to flu shot.
- Flu Shot Clinic Calendar: A listing of Flu Shot Clinics, at drugstores, hospitals and community centers is posted and continually updated on the Delaware County Web site at www.co.delaware.pa.us. People who do not have Internet access can call the Department of Intercommunity Health Coordination at (610) 891-5311 for sites and dates.
- Educational Information: The Delaware County Web site also features information on the seasonal flu with tips on prevention and links to the federal Centers for Disease Control. There are also printable fliers and reminders that can be downloaded and posted at schools, day care centers, workplaces and other sites.