Is Your Body Armed Against the Flu? Spending a Minute to Get a Flu Shot can Prevent Days of Agony

Nov 3, 2016

County Executive Joanie Mahoney and Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta talk about the importance of getting a flu vaccination.
Credit John Smith / WAER News

Flu season is upon us, and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney got her flu shot in hopes of encouraging residents to do the same to stay healthy.  The county is once again offering the vaccine free at its walk-in clinic.  Mahoney says it's quick and easy.

"It was short and sweet and painless," Mahoney said.  "It's something we're asking everybody to do to keep all of us safe.  It's not only good for people to get for themselves, but it's good for your co-workers, for your family.  Flu season is right around the corner."

So far, only three cases of the flu have been reported in Onondaga County since mid-October.  But many residents have had some form of a cold over the past month or so.  Health commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta says the initial symptoms can be similar to the flu.

"Fever, sore throat, body ache, headache...all those kinds of symptoms are common in a lot of viral diseases, it's hard to differentiate," Gupta said.  "But we recommend if things are getting worse, call your provider in 24 hours or so and make sure nothing else needs to be done."

That might include a flu treatment medicine.  Gupta says babies over 6 months old, the elderly, and those with chronic medical conditions are at especially high risk for complications.  

Credit health.ny.gov

"The doctors can screen them with a rapid test, and depending clinically how that person looks, decide to administer the medication," Gupta said. "Then you can reduce the duration of illness, especially when you're talking about those with underlying medical issues or extremes in ages, you prevent complications, which is very important.  Preventing hospitalization, preventing secondary pneumonia, and also death."

The county’s immunization clinic is offering vaccines free to residents while supplies last.  It’s held Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon in the basement of the civic center.   More information is at ongov.net/health or 435-2000.