Health Department

Get Ready for Flu Season

Emergency Preparedness- Make Sure Your Family Members Are Currently Vaccinated

The 2018-2019 flu season is approaching fast. The Center for Disease Control recommends that all people over the age of 6 months be vaccinated by the end of October. The flu can stick around through May, so it is not too late to get a flu shot after October. Remember that you cannot get the flu from the flu shot and the flu shot takes 2 weeks to be fully effective. Please read reasons to get a flu vaccine by the Center for Disease Control. This document also lists conditions that increase the risk of complications from the flu, since people with immune deficiencies, chronic conditions, the elderly, and young children can be at a greater risk of complications from the flu which may be severe.

The flu virus is contagious for 24 hours before symptoms appear to 7 days (or more for children) after symptoms begin. Most of the time it is spread by droplets in the air when someone coughs or sneezes, but it can also be spread when the droplets land on a surface and a person touches that surface and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. Once the virus enters a person’s body, it incubates for 1 to 3 days before symptoms appear.

There is sometimes confusion about what is flu and what is a cold. Generally, flu causes fever, body aches and pains, fatigue and weakness, chest discomfort and cough. Sometimes there are other symptoms as well. Please read more about when to suspect the flu.

If you think you have the flu, stay home from school or work, drink fluids, rest, and call your doctor. There are antiviral medications that can be prescribed that will help you get better faster if taken early. Read more about how to care for yourself and family members with the flu, and danger signs to look for in young children and adults.

To prevent the spread of flu, get a flu shot, wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, keep away from people coughing or sneezing, sanitize frequently touched surfaces regularly, keep your body healthy by eating healthy and drinking water, cover your cough, stay home when you are sick.

Remember: All preschool age children from age 6 months to 59 months must be vaccinated against the flu in order to attend school. This regulation was adopted by the NJ Department of Health because young children are susceptible to severe complications from the flu. Unless the parents speak with the school about a medical condition or a religious belief that prevents the child from having a flu shot, if children are not vaccinated, and there is no form signed by the doctor or parent for a release from the requirement, the child will not be able to attend school without a flu shot. Immunization of the population protects those who cannot be immunized.

Also, the flu vaccinations are KILLED viruses. They will stimulate your immune system to fight the various strains of flu circulating this year. THEY WILL NOT CAUSE YOU TO GET THE FLU. NO vaccine is 100% effective, and that includes the flu vaccine. In order to protect those who can’t be vaccinated, those who can be vaccinated should do so, and then the population will have resistance together- herd immunity, which will protect those who can’t be vaccinated. Each year people die or are hospitalized due to the flu. It is important that we take the usual precautions and get vaccinated so we can all be protected.

The Health Department will co-sponsor several vaccination clinics this year: Please continue to check the website and the Mayors EMail for information about the health insurances that will be accepted, and the cost for those without health insurance.

Tuesday, October 16: Hillsborough Township, first come, first served at the Hillsborough Municipal Building,
Adults 18 and over, no children, and no high dose will be available at this clinic. Please go to Walgreens or another pharmacy for high dose vaccine.

Saturday, October 13: Free Drive-Through Flu Clinic for Adults
Somerset County Public Works Garage, 410 Roycefield Rd., Hillsborough, 9 am to noon.

Without insurance, vaccinations cost $30 but may be more for high dose or other types of vaccine.

Green Brook Family Medicine accepts the following insurance:
Traditional Medicare Part B
Medicare Advantage (Horizon, Aetna, Humana, Clover)
Aetna EPO/PPO Cigna (WITHOUT PCP on the card)
Qualcare Great West Blue Cross/Blue Shield-Horizon Products (ONLY PPO and POS, NO HMO)
United Healthcare/Oxford (WITHOUT PCP on the card)

Walgreens accepts the following insurance:
All Medicare Plans
Aetna
Aetna Coventry
Cigna
United Health Care
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ
AmeriHealth

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