The flu season has been ratcheting up a few notches, with some folks who didn't get the vaccine now coming down with the nasty bug.
Many people who skipped getting their flu shots may think it's too late, but that's not true. We're just coming into the "height" of flu season.
But what if you don't have insurance? Pharmacies and drug stores are offering flu shots at around $40 for those without health insurance. But in these economic times, that's a big hit, especially for an unvaccinated family.
If you can make it to New Brunswick, the Middlesex County Office of Health Services is still offering inexpensive $15 shots. They're being given at the Public Health Clinic located at 596 Jersey Avenue, Suite B on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 pm to 3 pm.
The clinic accepts cash only, and they don't take bills in denominations any larger than a $20 bill. County residents who present a valid Red, White and Blue Medicare card will not be charged for their flu shot.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) latest reports, influenza activity has increased across the country, and New Jersey is experiencing high levels of influenza-like-illness (ILI) right about now.
The CDC continues to recommend influenza vaccination for people who have not yet been vaccinated this season. A flu shot is especially important for certain groups of individuals who are at higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications. These groups include: pregnant women, children under the age of five, and especially, those younger than 2 years old, people 65 years of age and older, and people with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and HIV).
You can also help reduce the spread of flu if you:
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean your hands often. (Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizers in your purse, car, and backpack, when soap and water is not available.)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as much as possible.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and then throw away your used tissue.
- Get regular exercise, enough rest, and eat healthy, balanced meals.
For more information, call the Middlesex County Office of Health Services at 732-745-3100 or visit their website.
You can also search for additional flu clinics in your area by calling 211, or by visiting the New Jersey Department of Health’s 'Find a Flu Shot' website.