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Posted on: February 4, 2020

Health Commissioner Urges Residents to Protect Against Flu

The Westchester County Department of Health reminds residents that the best way to avoid influenza is to get a yearly flu vaccine and wash hands frequently.

With flu activity now widespread throughout New York State and Westchester County, the risk of flu remains high, while the risk to the general public from 2019 Novel Coronavirus remains low.

People who forego an annual flu vaccine and catch the flu are more likely to experience serious illness and hospitalization than those who have had their annual flu shot. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone ages six months and older. The vaccine remains beneficial throughout flu season, which can last until May.

Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, said: “I urge anyone still not vaccinated to get a flu shot right away -- better late than never. Flu season typically peaks around this time, and we have seen an expected increase in lab-confirmed flu cases statewide. Flu vaccine is still widely available and it remains our best protection against the flu.”

Residents can get flu shots at medical offices and many pharmacies. The County Health Department also offers free flu vaccines by appointment. County clinics are open to all, especially those without insurance or whose insurance doesn’t cover vaccines. Call 914-995-5800 to register for a free flu vaccine at the County Clinics, 134 Court St., White Plains or 20 South Broadway, Yonkers.

Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, said: “Flu can be deadly, and the flu vaccine is very safe and the best protection we have. By getting an annual flu shot, you help protect infants too young to be vaccinated, as well as seniors and people with chronic health conditions who are more vulnerable to flu complications.”

Other ways to keep healthy include:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with fever and a cough.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
  • If someone in your home is sick, clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as door knobs and faucet handles with a bleach solution. Avoid using eco-friendly cleaning products.
  • Stay home when you are ill and keep your ill children home from school. Don’t return to work or school until you or they are fully recovered and fever-free for at least 24 hours.

For more information about flu or 2019 Novel Coronavirus, go to westchestergov.com/health. Residents with questions about 2019 Novel Coronavirus may also call a New York State hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

About Westchester County 

Westchester County, located in the heart of the historic Hudson Valley, covers 500 square miles and has a population of just under a million. Originally home to Native Americans, who were members of the Lenape tribe, it is today a rich mix of many cultures and landscapes. The County is a blend of bustling cities, quaint villages and picturesque towns as well as open spaces and a network of beautiful parks. Westchester is made up of 6 cities, 19 towns and 20 villages. Westchester County is known for top-notch public schools, and a high quality of life. The County is also an intellectual capital, boasting a highly educated workforce, competitive colleges and universities, Fortune 500 companies, world changing non-profits, and cutting-edge research centers. Westchester is led by County Executive George Latimer, who took office in January 2018 as the ninth County Executive. Using inclusion and openness as a foreground, Latimer is fighting to make Westchester a destination for all people to live, work and enjoy. Learn more about Westchester County by visiting www.westchestergov.com

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