Free Flu Shots Available to Adults Age 18 and Above
You can combat widespread flu with a shot
Are you noticing how many people are under the weather? It could be influenza, commonly called the flu. The New Jersey Department of Health reports flu activity is high in New Jersey, including Somerset County.
Somerset County Freeholder Patricia L. Walsh, public health and safety liaison, is urging anyone who has not gotten a flu shot already this season to do so as the flu is widespread throughout the state.
The Somerset County Department of Health is sponsoring free flu clinics for adults 18 and above as follows:
• Tuesday, Jan. 30, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Somerset County Human Services Building at 27 Warren St. in Somerville
•Thursday, Feb. 1, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Franklin Township Public Library at 485 DeMott Lane in Somerset (Franklin Township)
•Thursday, Feb. 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the North Plainfield Memorial Library at 6 Rockview Avenue in North Plainfield
•Thursday, Feb. 8, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Franklin Township Public Library at 3391 Route 27 in Franklin Park
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the United States is experiencing an unusually severe flu season, which started earlier than normal and is beginning to peak. This year is particularly bad because it is dominated by the influenza A (H3N2) strain, which cause more severe symptoms than other strains of flu.
Influenza can be serious. It is a contagious viral infection that mostly affects the respiratory system: nose, throat and lungs. Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. In some cases, people may experience vomiting and diarrhea. It is important to promptly consult a doctor or an urgent care facility if symptoms are severe, to assure proper treatment.
Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family members who are 6 months of age and above from the flu, especially very young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.
Although influenza vaccine effectiveness can range widely from season to season, influenza vaccination is the most effective currently available method to prevent influenza and its complications. It takes about two weeks for the body to develop an immune response, so the sooner you are vaccinated the better.
In addition to vaccinations, everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands helps to reduce the spread of germs. Individuals who are already infected should stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others, and seek immediate medical attention if symptoms become severe.
For information on flu clinics, contact the Somerset County Department of Health at 908-231-7155 or HealthDept@co.somerset.nj.us.