2006-01-06 / Community

DOH: Urges Risk Population To Get Shots

Daily monitoring of hospital emergency department visits suggests that flu activity is increasing in New York City. The growing number of New Yorkers experiencing cough and fever over the past several days, signs typically associated with the spread of community-wide flu, is a reminder for New Yorkers to get vaccinated for influenza. Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), today urged New Yorkers, especially those who are over 65 or have long term illness, to get a life saving flu shot from their doctor or a DOHMH clinic.

“Flu season is upon us,” said Dr. Frieden. “Our most recent monitoring of hospitals indicates that more people are experiencing flu symptoms, which means there are potentially thousands of New Yorkers spreading the flu. While many people can endure a few days of illness, each year too many New Yorkers get sick and, sadly, as many as 2,500 die from the flu. But most flu illness and death can be prevented with a simple, safe flu shot. Every New Yorker who wants a flu shot should get one either from their doctor, or from one of our clinics.”

DOHMH encourages all New Yorkers, especially those who are of high risk of serious illness, to get a flu shot from their doctor. DOHMH clinics offer no-cost flu shots throughout the five boroughs. Please visit nyc.gov/health/flu or call 311 for DOHMH clinic locations. Healthy people between the ages of 5 and 49 may receive either a flu shot or a dose of a nasal spray influenza vaccine (Flumist) from their doctor.

Who Should Get a Flu Shot

•People age 50 and older;

•Children age 6 to 23 months;

•Residents of nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities;

•Pregnant women;

•Persons age 6 months and older with long-term health problems, such as: diabetes; lung disease, including asthma; heart disease; kidney disease; sickle cell anemia; immune system problems (including people with HIV/AIDS, and those being treated for cancer or taking high-dose steroids); conditions that can cause breathing problems (such as cognitive dysfunction, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders, or other neuromuscular disorders); children age 6 months to 18 years on long-term aspirin therapy;

•Caregivers and household members of all people listed above, especially those in contact with infants younger than 6 months (babies this age can get the flu, but are too young for a flu shot).

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