The Westchester County Department of Health reminds residents that the best way to avoid influenza is to get a yearly flu vaccine and wash hands frequently.

With flu activity now widespread throughout New York State and Westchester County, the risk of flu remains high, while the risk to the general public from 2019 Novel Coronavirus remains low.

People who forego an annual flu vaccine and catch the flu are more likely to experience serious illness and hospitalization than those who have had their annual flu shot. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone ages six months and older. The vaccine remains beneficial throughout flu season, which can last until May.

Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, said: “I urge anyone still not vaccinated to get a flu shot right away -- better late than never. Flu season typically peaks around this time, and we have seen an expected increase in lab-confirmed flu cases statewide. Flu vaccine is still widely available and it remains our best protection against the flu.” 

Residents can get flu shots at medical offices and many pharmacies. The County Health Department also offers free flu vaccines by appointment. County clinics are open to all, especially those without insurance or whose insurance doesn’t cover vaccines. Call 914-995-5800 to register for a free flu vaccine at the County Clinics, 134 Court St., White Plains or 20 South Broadway, Yonkers.

Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, said: “Flu can be deadly, and the flu vaccine is very safe and the best protection we have. By getting an annual flu shot, you help protect infants too young to be vaccinated, as well as seniors and people with chronic health conditions who are more vulnerable to flu complications.”

Other ways to keep healthy include:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick with fever and a cough.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
  • If someone in your home is sick, clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as door knobs and faucet handles with a bleach solution. Avoid using eco-friendly cleaning products.
  • Stay home when you are ill and keep your ill children home from school. Don’t return to work or school until you or they are fully recovered and fever-free for at least 24 hours.

For more information about flu or 2019 Novel Coronavirus, go to Residents with questions about 2019 Novel Coronavirus may also call a New York State hotline at 1-888-364-3065.