The Madison County Health Department is encouraging parents to vaccinate young children against the influenza virus.
This comes after the issuance of a New York State Executive Order on Jan. 25 which allows pharmacists to administer flu vaccine to children two years of age and older. This move will increase access to the flu vaccine to residents this season, officials said.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to call pharmacies ahead of their visit, to ensure they are ready to receive patients in this age group. Parents should keep a copy of their child’s proof of vaccination to give to their child’s healthcare provider for their records.
“We encourage residents to get vaccinated to avoid becoming seriously ill and, in turn, hopefully keep them from being hospitalized,” Madison County Public Health Director Dr. Eric Faisst said.
To receive a flu shot, contact your local health care provider or pharmacy, or find information about vaccination clinics by contacting your local health department. Flu shots may also be found through the HealthMap Vaccine Finder at www.vaccinefinder.org.
Parents and guardians with children between the ages of six months and 24 months or with any allergy or health concerns are still encouraged to see their primary care provider for their vaccination.
The flu vaccine may not provide complete protection from getting the flu, but if you get sick, you may not get as sick and may recover more quickly.
Antiviral medications continue to be recommended when people get sick with the flu to reduce symptoms and get better sooner.
In addition, the New York State Department of Financial Services has provided guidance to health insurers. This guidance will work to ensure that prior authorization is not a barrier to the prescribing of antiviral medications within the first 48 hours of illness.
Flu protection hints
In addition to getting a flu shot and staying home when sick, it’s important to practice good hand hygiene. Unlike some viruses, influenza is easily killed by soap and hot water. Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds to protect yourself and avoid spreading germs to others.
Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available. Choose a product with at least 60 percent alcohol.
Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Instead, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.
Visit www.healthymadisoncounty.org or call 315-366-2361 for local health information.