Delaware County Council and the County Department of Intercommunity Health Coordination (ICH) remind all residents about the importance of getting an annual flu shot by launching its annual flu prevention campaign.

The fall campaign includes, a detailed listing of flu shot clinics throughout the county, a flu prevention video, clinics at various libraries, extensive public education and a free Walk-In Flu Clinic.

The clinic will be held on Thursday, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Tinicum firehouse in Essington.

This clinic replaces the drive-thru clinic that has been held in previous years. Vaccines will be given to all residents age 4 and older. People will be asked to complete a brief screening to determine if they are allergic to eggs, or have ever had a reaction to a flu shot. People are also asked to bring a canned good or non-perishable food item to be donated at the walk-in flu shot clinic.

“Receiving the flu vaccine is the first and most important step in preventing the flu and decreasing the risk of severe flu-related illnesses,” said Tom McGarrigle, councilman of Delaware County. “Each year, in the United States, 200,000 people are hospitalized due to complications from the flu and 36,000 people due from the flu and related complications. We want to ensure that Delaware County residents stay healthy.”

The flu season usually occurs from fall through early spring. The peak of flu season has occurred anywhere from late November through March. The overall health impact of the flu, including infections, hospitalizations and deaths, varies from year to year.

“Everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated against the flu, and sufficient supplies of vaccine are now available,” said George Avetian, senior medical advisor of Delaware County. “People at the greatest risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart and chronic lung disease and individuals age 65 and older. We recommend that everyone seek a flu vaccination from their family physician, a public flu shot clinic, or their pharmacy.”

The 2011–2012 vaccine will protect against three strains of influenza: A virus (subtype H3N2), an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus that emerged in 2009 to cause a pandemic.

It is estimated that 166 million doses of flu vaccine will be produced this year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In addition to immunization, there are everyday preventative measures that inhibit the spread of influenza virus, including frequent hand-washing with antibacterial soap, the proper disposal of tissues, and if people are sick with flu–like illness, the CDC recommends that they stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.

For more information on the flu prevention program, visit www.co.delaware.pa.us.

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