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Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, and Board of Health President Robert Baker, MD, urge parents to get their children the flu shot. Today, they visited Westchester Park Pediatrics with Baker’s children, where pediatrician G. Patricia Avvocato, MD, administered their flu shots.

This year, it is important that everyone – including children – get a flu shot as early as possible to avoid flu and COVID-19 overlap, and enable an accurate diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 symptoms are often similar, and without a vaccination, it is more difficult for doctors to determine how to treat you.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “We all know that 2020 has proven to be a challenging year for our health and safety, and we have learned that our children are not immune to the flu or the Coronavirus. Making sure your children are up to date on their vaccinations is one simple step you can take to protect them during flu season. Don’t put off your flu shot any longer, make an appointment to get vaccinated today.”

Amler said: “With all that we continue to face in battling the spread of Covid-19, getting vaccinated is one thing we can do to help keep each other - and our children - safe this flu season. Getting your flu shot will ultimately lessen the strain on our healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will help keep people out of local hospitals. One flu vaccine now provides protection all season long, and can prevent illness or reduce the severity of flu symptoms.”

Flu activity is usually highest between December and February, but can last into May. A flu vaccine becomes fully effective after about two weeks.

Amler said that anyone who does get a respiratory infection should cough or sneeze into their elbow, wash their hands frequently with soap and water, stay home until 24 hours after their fever subsides to avoid spreading germs, clean surfaces they touch frequently, such as doorknobs, water faucets, refrigerator handles and telephones, and get plenty of rest.