UPDATE: Flu Outbreak Spares Hillsborough Students—So Far
Tuesday clinic in Hillsborough may be one of the season's last as infections spread.
Update: Despite wide-spread flu infections reported in the region, Hillsborough schools have not reported substantial increases in the number of students calling out sick.
"This week, we are seeing a slight increase at a few of our schools of parents reporting students out with an influenza-like illness," Lorraine Borek, RN CSN M.Ed., the district's nursing supervisor, said. "Most schools in our district have not seen an increase in absenteeism related to an influenza-like illness."
Borek added the district's pro-active approach to reinforcing healthy behaviors in the schools has proven helpful in slowing the spread of the flu and colds.
"We attribute our low rate to the district’s standard practice of promoting positive health behaviors—including proper hand washing," she said.
Since then, queries on New Jersey have continued to spike far above any of the six previous years Google has tracked flu.
But if you've been around any groups of people—school, work, a theater—you already know there's a lot around.
According to the Hillsborough Health Department, the season started early in Hillsborough and a strain known as A H3N2 is not only the most rpevalent, but is also the most likely strain to cause serious illness.
Officials are encouraging residents who haven't already gotten a vaccination to do so—especially since supplies are dwindling.
"The Greater Somerset Public Health Partnership has joined together to administer remaining flu vaccine and will offer clinics," an advisory issued by the Health Department notes. "There is a limited amount of vaccine, and clinics will close when vaccine is gone."
A clinic has been scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Hillsborough Township Municipal Building. This clinic will be open to adults age 18 and over who are not pregnant. There will be a charge of $20 per vaccination to those without Medicare Part B; those with Medicare Part B should have their cards with them.
Vaccine quantities are limited and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.
The Somerset County Department of Health will host additional clinics, which may run a little differently, but all have a $20 fee and accept Medicare Part B website, but you can find a complete list on the Department of Health's website events calendar.
Some local pharmacies may still have vaccine available—including:
In the meantime, be sure to follow all of the Centers for Disease Control recommendations to avoid infection:
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you or your child gets sick with a respiratory illness, like flu, limit contact with others as much as possible to help prevent spreading illness. Stay home (or keep your child home) for at least 24 hours after fever is gone except to seek medical care or for other necessities. Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
- If an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs, follow public health advice. This may include information about how to increase distance between people and other measures.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. This will block the spread of droplets from your mouth or nose that could contain germs.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
If you have any queitons, call the Hillsborough Health Department at 908-369-5652.