Seasonal influenza, commonly called “flu,” is a contagious illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the respiratory tract (the nose, throat, and lungs) and can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications.
Some of the complications caused by flu include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. Children may get sinus problems and ear infections. The flu can cause mild to severe illness for days, and in some cases can lead to more serious health problems and even death. It is estimated that every year in the United States, about 5% to 20% of the population gets flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications. Each year, more than 2,000 New Yorkers die from flu-related illness.
Those at high risk for serious flu complications include pregnant women, children under five years of age, adults over 65, nursing home residents and people with other serious health conditions.
“I’m happy to partner again with Health + Hospitals to bring Staten Islanders free flu shots,” noted BP Oddo. “As the weather begins to get colder, it’s important to get vaccinated against the flu, especially if you might be at risk of complications. Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself as well as those around you from this illness.”
No appointment is necessary to receive a flu shot. Those presenting for a flu shot need to sign a consent form and show photo ID.