What is influenza?
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The symptoms of influenza are: Fever, Chills, Sore Throat, Headache, Runny Nose, Fatigue, Nausea, Vomiting & Diarrhea.
How is influenza spread?
People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the eyes, noses, or mouths of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose. (CDC, www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm )
How do I stop the spread of influenza?
You can stop the spread of influenza by:
- Getting a flu vaccine each year
- Covering coughs and sneezes
- Washing your hands
- Staying home if you are sick
What is the Gloucester County Department of Health doing to protect the residents of Gloucester County?
Influenza surveillance is conducted to monitor for unusual influenza activity. Guidance is provided to schools and healthcare facilities regularly during influenza season from fall to spring each year.
Every fall, influenza vaccinations are available at no cost to Gloucester County residents at scheduled locations throughout the county.
The County is geared up for the peak flu season, with vaccines and manpower ready to keep our residents healthy and promote preventative health care. For your convenience, a schedule is printed in the County newsletter in October, announced in the local newspaper and on our website. During fall and winter the schedule will be posted below or on our home page. Eligibility restrictions and supply availability may apply.
What is an Influenza Pandemic?
A pandemic is an outbreak that has the potential to infect individuals on a world wide scale. During the H1N1 pandemic, hundreds of thousands of people contracted influenza but very few deaths were recorded. The World Health Organization is carefully monitoring H5N1 or avian flu across the globe. To find out more on H5N1 click on here www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/en
The Gloucester County Department of Health has developed a Pandemic Influenza plan. To read more on pandemic influenza and the response actions we will take during a pandemic click here.
Gloucester County Influenza Clinics
The Board of Chosen Freeholders schedules flu shot clinics in each municipality to help keep Gloucester County families healthy every flu season. These convenient flu shot clinics are scheduled on weekdays, weekends and during evening hours for working families. For questions regarding the Gloucester County Flu Program contact (856) 218-4102
- Drive-thru clinics help those citizens who have difficulty walking or standing in lines get their shot.
- Designated pre-school/daycare/family clinics are scheduled for families with children 18 years and younger. All family members can get vaccinated at the same time.
- There is at least one clinic held in each municipality; however residents may attend any of the publicized locations.
Why do I need a flu shot every year?
The seasonal influenza vaccine consists of three or four different strains of influenza, depending on the manufacturer. Each year scientists from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration determine which strains will make up the seasonal flu shot based on the dominating strains the year before.
There are two types of influenza vaccines with different manufacturing processes:
- Inactivated (killed) vaccine, or the “flu shot” is given by injection into the muscle.
- Live, attenuated (weakened) influenza vaccine is sprayed into the nostrils.
Children and the Flu Vaccine:
- Children are encouraged to see their pediatrician for vaccination.
- Children without a pediatrician, under the age of 5, should attend the scheduled “preschool/daycare/family clinics”.
- Children ages 6 months-18 years must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. If a legal guardian, please bring proper documentation.
- Children under the age of 9 receiving flu immunizations for the first time need a second shot at least 4 weeks after the 1st.
- Preschool children attending a licensed day care facility must have received their mandatory flu immunization before December 31st to be allowed to attend daycare the following year.
Some people should check with a doctor before taking flu vaccine:
Persons on immunosuppressive therapy (cancer treatment or steroid therapy).
Those with a fever or who have been ill with something more serious than a cold in the last 48 hours.
Some people should only receive their flu vaccine from their doctor:
Those with a severe allergy to any vaccine component.
Those who are allergic to eggs.
Those with multiple sclerosis or previous attacks of Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS).
In order for everyone to have a smooth flu experience we’ve provided some helpful tips for the Clinics:
- Print out a flu shot consent form from the County’s website, fill it out and bring it to the flu shot clinic.
- If you cannot fill out your form ahead of time, bring a return address label with your full name to help speed up the paperwork process.
- Have a drivers license or other form of ID ready upon entering a clinic. You will need to show proof of county residency.
- Keep your belongings with you at all times, you will not wait long.
- Wear clothes which will permit you to easily expose the top of your dominant arm like short sleeves, loose fitting jackets and tops.
- Clinics will begin and end as scheduled.
- There is no need to stand in line; usually lines are shorter during the middle of a clinic.