Flu vaccine available now to prevent illness later

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Influenza season is coming, and local health officials urge residents to get vaccinated in an effort to prevent the illness.

The Belmont County Health Department received a shipment of flu vaccine for the 2016-17 flu season. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza viruses typically circulate widely in the United States annually, from the late fall through early spring. Although most people who become infected with flu viruses will recover, influenza can cause serious illness and death, particularly among older adults, very young children, pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions.

“Annual influenza vaccination is the primary means of preventing influenza and its complications,” the CDC states.

Everyone is susceptible to the flu, so annual vaccination against influenza viruses is generally recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.

In addition to getting the vaccine, the CDC suggests that people take the following everyday precautions to avoid becoming sick with or spreading the flu:

– Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

– 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. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.

– While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

– Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

– Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

– Also, antiviral medications, which can treat flu illness, may be used in certain circumstances to prevent the flu.

There is a cost for a flu shot at the Belmont County Health Department, located along Ohio 331 west of St. Clairsville. The health department accepts Medicaid, Medicare and some private insurance. Proof of insurance must be presented at the time of service.

The health department is offering home visits to administer flu vaccine to home-bound residents of Belmont County. To schedule a home visit, call 740-695-1202, ext. 19 or 24.


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