Kingston, NY –County Executive Mike Hein and Ulster County Commissioner of Health Dr. Carol Smith wish to remind residents of the importance of receiving their flu vaccination every year. County Executive Hein received his flu vaccination today to demonstrate the importance of preventing the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends annual vaccinations for everyone, six months of age and older. While the exact timing and duration of the flu season can vary, influenza typically increases in October peaks between December and February and decreases in May.
The flu is more than just a simple cold, it is a contagious illness that can be spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing, as well as touching a surface or object that contains flu viruses and then touching your mouth or nose. Symptoms of the flu vaccination can include fever, chills, headache, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue and body aches. The flu virus can be much more detrimental for older adults, young children, and people who have certain chronic diseases making recovery more difficult.
Michael P. Hein, Ulster County Executive
“The flu vaccination is an important preventative health measure to reduce the chances of getting the flu and spreading it to others,” said County Executive Mike Hein. “I urge residents to get the flu shot to avoid any unnecessary illness. We are fortunate to have many locations in our County where residents can receive a flu shot, making it more accessible and convenient for those with busy schedules.”
Dr. Carol Smith, Ulster County Commissioner of Health
“Influenza is a serious disease that can be averted with a timely vaccination,” said Dr. Carol Smith, Ulster County Commissioner of Health. “In addition to getting vaccinated, other preventative actions may be taken such as washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs and covering your cough. If you are sick with the flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading influenza to others.”
According to the New York State Department of Health, every year in the United States, on average:
- 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu,
- More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and;
- The flu causes about 3,000 to 49,000 deaths each year. About 90% of these deaths occur in people 65 years or older.
Receiving the flu vaccination can not only prevent or reduce the severity of illness from the virus, but can also decrease the likelihood of being hospitalized as well. During the 2016-2017 influenza season, the CDC estimates that the flu shot prevented approximately 5.3 million influenza illnesses, 2.6 million influenza-associated medical visits, and 85,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations.
Pictured below: County Executive Mike Hein receiving Flu Shot joined by Ulster County Commissioner of Health & Mental Health Dr. Carol Smith