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Flu season is here; Poloncarz, Burstein receive annual flu shots


Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 10:40 am
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz received his annual flu vaccination last Friday.
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz received his annual flu vaccination last Friday.

County executive, health commissioner encourage residents to stay healthy during flu season

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein as both received their annual influenza vaccine. They encouraged county residents to follow suit and get their flu vaccine early in the season, rather than wait until later.

Flu season in Western New York stretches from mid-October through May, and typically peaks in January.

"The flu can strike anyone. Having the flu puts a strain on the individual that has it, on their family and friends, and especially on their co-workers," Poloncarz said. "Getting a flu shot reduces the likelihood of getting ill. Keep yourself and everyone around you healthier during flu season by getting vaccinated soon."

Burstein added, "Why get a flu vaccine? Besides the fact that no one likes to be sick, influenza can lead to severe respiratory illness, requiring hospitalization and, in some cases, can be fatal. Not only will you lessen your chance of getting the flu, you will also limit the likelihood of passing the virus onto family members or colleagues who have a chronic illness, for whom influenza can be a very serious health concern."

Flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, which can cause mild to severe illness. It's never too late to be vaccinated as the flu season can last several months. Flu vaccines provide protection against three or four viruses (depending upon the type of vaccine you receive); are generally covered by many health insurance plans; and are readily available in Erie County physicians' offices, pharmacies and other community sites.

Individuals can stay healthy during flu season by frequently washing hands to avoid spreading viruses from one person to another. Wash hands carefully and thoroughly with soap and water, especially after using the toilet or changing diapers, and before eating, preparing and handling food. When sneezing or coughing, be sure to turn away from others and use a tissue to cover your mouth or nose and try to sneeze into the crook of your arm, rather than into your hands.

For more information on the Erie County Department of Health, visit http://www2.erie.gov/health/

On the state's Department of Health and influenza, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/seasonal/

On the Centers for Disease Control and influenza, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2015-2016.htm,http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/index.htm and http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm

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