Somerset County Schedules Flu-Shot Clinics, Public-Awareness Campaign
The flu season is upon us once again. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses, which can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The Somerset County Public Health & Safety Department would like to remind all residents that the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. Since flu viruses are constantly changing, it's not unusual for new flu-virus strains to appear each year. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue through May.
While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season, which are the H1N1-like virus, the H3N2-like virus and the influenza B-like virus. These are the same strains that were selected for the 2010-2011 influenza vaccine, which were a good match.
It is recommended that everyone - six months and older - get a flu vaccine each year. This is especially important if you are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because you live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications.
Although good health habits such as covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu, getting a flu shot is the best protection against getting the flu.
To remind and encourage residents to practice healthy habits, the Somerset County Department of Health will be sponsoring a community flu-awareness billboard campaign, starting Oct. 3. Four billboards will be mounted at major intersections in the county and the ad will run for four weeks from the starting date.
· Oct. 3 – South Bridge Street in Somerville
· Oct. 31 – Watchung Avenue in North Plainfield
· Nov. 28 – Route 31 and 202 South in Raritan
· Dec. 26 – South Bridge Street in Somerville
The Somerset County Department of Health, which acts as the health department for eight towns in Somerset County , will be running flu clinics in certain municipalities. The first two clinic dates and requirements are:
Tuesday, Oct. 4: Free flu shots for residents of Franklin Township , age 65 and older, from 9 a.m. to noon. The pneumonia shot also will be available for free to residents who qualify. Shots will be given at the Community Senior Center , located at 505 DeMott Lane in Somerset .
Saturday, Oct. 8: Flu shots will be available from 10 a.m. to noon at the Senior Citizen / Community Center at the corner of Greenbrook Road and Clinton Avenue in North Plainfield . The fee is $5 for North Plainfield residents and $10 for non- residents. Participants who have Medicare Part B can receive the shot for free. Proof of coverage is required.
In addition to the flu-shot clinic on Oct. 8 in North Plainfield , a comprehensive wellness blood screening is being offered, starting at 8 a.m. The screening includes a blood test for a complete blood count (CBC) and liver, kidney and lipid profiles. Fasting is required, which means that participants cannot eat or drink for 12 hours before the blood test.
The fee for blood screening for North Plainfield residents is $20 and $30 for non-residents. Pre-registration is required by Oct. 7. Contact the Somerset County Department of Health at 908-231-7155 to register.
For more information on flu-shot clinics, contact the Somerset County Department of Health at 908-231-7155 or visit www.co.somerset.nj.us/health and click on the “Find a Flu Clinic” green button under “Hot Topics.”