UNION COUNTY — With the beginning of the 2013-2014 flu season, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents that flu vaccines are available at many locations in Union County, including pharmacies, private medical practices and public clinics run by local health departments.
Fees for the vaccine can be free or quite low, and they may be waived for those with Medicare cards, though they may be higher at some locations. Residents are advised to call ahead for information on fees before going for a flu shot.
The following health departments have announced public flu clinics for September and October in Union County:
• Clark – 732-428-8405
• Kenilworth – via Union Health Department, 908-851-8507
• Plainfield – 908-753-3092
• Roselle – 908-259-3032 or 908-259-3039
• Springfield – via Madison Health Department, 973-593-3081
• Union – 908-851-8507
Individuals who get a flu vaccine in September or early October will be protected throughout the entire flu season.
Flu season typically peaks in the northeast in the fall and winter months. The seasonal flu virus is always changing, so a new vaccine is required every year.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends the flu vaccine for everyone over the age of six months, especially for persons aged 65 years and older regardless of whether or not they have chronic health conditions.
Other groups that are especially recommended for an annual flu vaccine are residents of long-term care facilities, persons aged 2–64 years who have chronic health conditions, children aged six months or older who attend licensed child care centers or preschool activities, pregnant women, healthcare personnel who provide direct patient care, and caregivers of infants less than six months old.
Flu viruses spread through coughing and sneezing. They may also spread when people touch something with flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose.
People infected with flu may infect others before symptoms start and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. That means infected persons can spread the flu before, during and after they feel sick. Young children, those who are severely ill, and those who have severely weakened immune systems infect others for longer than 5-7 days.
The best way to prevent the spread of the flu is to get vaccinated, wash hands with warm water and soap often, always cover coughs, and stay home when feeling sick.
For more information on flu prevention, including an online pharmacy locator and more details on health department clinics in Union County, visit ucnj.org/what-to-do-about-the-flu.