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FLU SEASON ARRIVES EARLY THIS YEAR



“This year had an early start to the flu season,” said Daniel Regenye, Ocean
County Health Department (OCHD) Public Health Coordinator. “Ocean County, New Jersey and the rest of the U.S. are seeing significant amount of flu activity, much earlier than the past couple of years. The Health Department is  monitoring the situation closely and will continue its flu shot campaign so people still have time to get vaccinated against the flu. The strain of flu that has been identified in the majority of cases tends to be seen earlier and cause more hospitalizations.” Regenye continued, “It takes about 2 weeks for a person to gain protection from the flu vaccination. If a person has been exposed to the flu before getting vaccinated or within the 2 week period, this exposure may cause a person to becoming ill with the flu.
In some cases, a person may be exposed to a different flu than the influenza virus included in the seasonal vaccine. There are many different influenza viruses that circulate every year. The composition of the flu shot is reviewed each season and updated if needed to protect against the 3 viruses that research suggests will be most common.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some people can
get infected with the influenza virus that is included in the vaccine despite getting vaccinated. Protection provided by influenza vaccination can vary widely, based in part on health and age factors of the person getting vaccinated. In general, the flu vaccine works best among young healthy adults and older children. Some older people and people with certain chronic illnesses may develop less immunity after vaccination. While vaccination offers the best protection against influenza infection, it is still possible that
some people may become ill after being vaccinated. Influenza vaccination is not a perfect tool, but it is the best tool to prevent influenza.

The Health Department continues to remind people that flu prevention practices are extremely important, not just during flu season, but all the time. Besides getting your flu shot, remember:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water
  •  If you do not have soap, you can use hand sanitizer
  •  Sneeze or cough in your sleeve
  •  If you cough or sneeze in a tissue, throw away the tissue and wash your hands
  •  Stay home when you are sick

Visit the Ocean County Health Department website at www.ochd.org to get a
listing of dates, times, and sites or the flu clinics. Pneumonia shots are also offered to those over 65 at flu clinics. If you are under 65, please have a note from your health care provider. If you have any questions, please call 732-341-9700, ext. 7502.