Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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Dec. 31, 2004

People Age 50 And Over May Now Get Flu Shots in Oswego County

OSWEGO - Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 4, the Oswego County Health Department will expand the eligibility for flu shots to people age 50 and over, out-of-home caregivers, and household contacts of people in high-risk groups.

The new guidelines are recommended by the state Health Department in areas where there is sufficient vaccine.

Appointments must be made in advance. To make an appointment, call the county Health Department weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., phone 349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, extension 3547.

"We have a sufficient supply of flu vaccine to be able to offer flu shots to adults age 50 and over," said Kathleen Smith, Oswego County Commissioner of Health Services. "We strongly urge anyone in the high-risk group that hasn't already received a flu shot to get one. The flu season generally lasts until March, and there is still a health benefit for people that receive their flu shot in January."

The following people are eligible for flu shots:

  • Adults age 50 or older;
  • Persons with underlying chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, or weakened immune systems because of illness or medication;
  • Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of adults age 65 and older, and people in high-risk groups; and
  • Children less than 2 years old.

The flu shot will be provided at a reduced cost at these clinics because the county received the vaccine from the New York State Department of Health. People who are covered by Medicaid or Medicare should bring their benefit card with them to their flu clinic appointment. All others will be charged $15 to cover the cost of administering the vaccine.

The children's flu shot is recommended for all healthy infants age 6 months through 23 months and children ages 2 through 18 who have a chronic medical condition such as asthma or diabetes. The children's flu shot is available from area pediatricians and at county immunization clinics from 9 to 11 a.m. Fridays at the H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse in Pulaski and from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Fridays at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego.

To help prevent the spread of flu, health officials advise people to:

  • Wash your hands often;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissues when you sneeze and cough;
  • Stay away from crowds when you are sick and when there is flu in the community; and
  • Keep sick children home from school.

Adults should not go to work when they are sick, and people should not visit hospitals and nursing homes if they have flu and cold symptoms.

Flu symptoms include high fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. People who experience these symptoms should contact their health care provider.

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