County reminds residents that flu season is here

The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Monmouth County Health Department (MCHD) are reminding residents that flu season is here and the best way to protect yourself is by getting a flu shot.

The flu season begins in the fall, peaking between December and February, and lasting as late as May.

“There are a number of benefits in receiving the flu vaccine,” said Freeholder Susan M. Kiley, liaison to MCHD. “The vaccine helps prevent from getting sick with the flu, lowers the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations, protects women during and after pregnancy and can be lifesaving for children.”

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus, which can be mild to severe. Severe issues with the flu can result in hospitalization and even death. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine, by the end of October, for everyone six months and older. However, getting vaccinated later is still beneficial.

“Every flu season is different and an influenza infection can affect each person differently,” said Christopher P. Merkel, M.P.H., Public Health Coordinator and Health Officer. “The Monmouth County Health Department will continue its effort to limit the effects of each flu season by offering seasonal flu shots.”

The flu can cause symptoms including fever, chills, cough, body aches, fatigue, sore throat and runny or stuffy nose. The CDC advises that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.

“Key health tips to keep in mind during the flu season include covering your cough and sneezes, avoiding close contact with someone sick, cleaning surfaces and objects and wash your hands often,” said Freeholder Kiley. “It is recommended to stay home if you are feeling sick, and until you are fever-free for 24 hours, to avoid spreading the flu.”

The Monmouth County Health Department provides public health services for residents of the following towns: Aberdeen, Allentown, Asbury Park, Atlantic Highlands, Avon, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Englishtown, Eatontown, Farmingdale, Hazlet, Holmdel, Howell, Keansburg, Keyport, Lake Como, Manasquan, Marlboro, Matawan, Neptune City, Neptune Township, Ocean Grove, Oceanport, Roosevelt, Shrewsbury Township and Union Beach.

For more information, call MCHD at 732-431-7456 or go to www.visitmonmouth.com/health.