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Newton Officials Urge Residents to Take Precautions Against Flu; Vaccines Still Available

Like many communities, Newton has had a significant increase in flu cases this year (over last year), with more than 130 cases so far this season.

As the region continues to deal with a bad flu season, Newton health officials have offered a number of tips on how to stay healthy and where to get a flu vaccine locally. 

For those who still need a flu shot, the city of Newton will partner with Newton-Wellesley Hospital to offer a free flu vaccination clinic next week at the Newton Free Library, according to a press release on the city's website . The clinic will be by appointment only.

To schedule a time for the clinic next week, call the Newton-Wellesley Hospital Carefinder appointment line at 617-243-5900. The clinic is open to all and non-Newton residents may schedule appointments.

"Vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu,” Health and Human Services Commissioner Dori Zaleznik said in the press release. “It’s definitely not too late to be vaccinated.”

As of this morning, Walgreens locations in Newton still had vaccines available, according to the mayor's office. 

Check out this story for a list of other locations where you can get flu shots in Newton.

Earlier this week, Zaleznik said Newton has had 131 confirmed cases of the flu so far this season, a significant jump from last season.

At this time last year, the city had no confirmed cases of the flu, Zaleznik said, and just two cases were confirmed the entire season.

“Most people who have the flu don’t need to go to the hospital or to their doctor’s office,” Zaleznik said in the statement. “It’s generally better to stay home and take care of yourself. However, if you have shortness of breath or difficulty keeping hydrated, you should contact your health care provider. If your fever breaks about day four or five and then you develop another high fever, that’s when you should go to the emergency department. Those who have underlying health conditions should call their health care provider as soon as symptoms appear to see if antiviral medication is needed.”

The city issued the following tips on how to stay flu-free this season:

Handwashing 

  • Wash your hands often -- when they are dirty, before eating, after using the bathroom and after sneezing into a tissue
  • Use soap and warm water and rub your hands together for at least 15 seconds before rinsing and drying.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are ok to use when your hands aren’t visibly dirty

Cough Etiquette

  • Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands – use your elbow or sleeve

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Viruses spread this way.

Stay away from people who are sick, and stay home when you are sick.

If you do get the flu: You should rest at home, drink plenty of fluids and consider taking a fever reducing medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.  More specific information about how to take care of someone who has the flu is available at www.mass.gov/flu

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