Get Flu Ready!
According to the CDC, "getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season." To protect your health during the COVID-19 pandemic, when getting a flu vaccine, follow CDC’s recommendations for running essential errands and doctor visits. Continue to take everyday preventive actions.
Flu season begins in October and continues into early spring (peaking in January and February). All residents are encouraged to be aware and to take precautionary and preventative measures. That includes getting your flu vaccine. Below are a listing of resources you can explore to find a convenient location for you and your family to get vaccinated against the flu.
County Health Departments Coordinate Local Flu Clinics
Many county health departments have coordinated the administration of flu shots for county residents. Some, though not all, offer this vaccine for free. Find out what is available in your area by going to the link provided below for your county. If we could not find a listing of clinics in your area, we have provided the link to your county health department. You may call the department directly to determine resources available in your county. Some county sites will link you to municipalities in that county for information. Alternatively, check with your local health department. Atlantic Health Systems has also compiled a comprehensive listing for the counties of Essex (southwestern), Morris, Passaic, Somerset (northern), Sussex, Union and Warren.
Federally Qualified Health Clinics
Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHCs) provide a full range of health services (including the administration of flu vaccines) to the under-insured and uninsured. Find a FQHC in your area and inquire with them as to what is available in your area.
Your Local Pharmacy
If you have health insurance, check with your regular pharmacy as some offer free flu shots. Some pharmacies allow individuals to make appointments ahead of time or complete the necessary paperwork prior to the appointment.
Walgreens is promoting free flu vaccines (for most insurance carriers) and a $5 coupon for those who get their shot before November 30, 2020. Learn the details and find a location near you.
Flu Symptoms and how Germs Spread
Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person-to-person when germs are transmitted through coughing, sneezing, or simply talking to someone with the flu. Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with the flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose.
People infected with flu may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five-to-seven days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick as well as while you are sick. Young children, those who are severely ill, and those who have severely weakened immune systems may be able to infect others for longer than five-to-seven days.
What you can do to slow the spread of this virus:
- Get a flu shot.
- Wash your hands when applicable and possible.
- Always cover your mouth when you cough.
- Stay home if you feel sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Limit contact with others as much as possible to help prevent spreading illness. Stay home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone except to seek medical care or for other necessities.
- If an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs, follow public health advice. This may include information about how to increase the distance between people and other measures.
Since this is a condition so easily transmitted, everyone is better off when we all learn the facts about the flu and its many variations. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention website has entire pages devoted to educating Americans about this illness and offers links that are sure to answer all of your questions. The New Jersey Department of Health has also devoted a portion of its website to flu education and preparedness as well as provided information related to each form of influenza. For information in a variety of languages, see the NJ Health Flu Documents and You Have the Power to Protect NJ.