Is being healthy throughout the holidays and winter season important to you? Your Salem Public Health Nurse and Health Department want to help make that happen! The winter can be a challenging season for many people due to inclement weather and illnesses. Consistent with the Salem for All Ages initiative, it is important for us at the Salem Board of Health to do our best to help residents of all ages in Salem to be healthy in their homes and community. We have a responsibility to prevent and address public health issues. In addition to responding to residents’ concerns, we also ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations, ordinances and policies to prevent public health issues. Some examples of this prevention include conducting housing inspections (including those with heating issues in the winter time), food establishment inspections, disease surveillance, investigating and preventing contagious illnesses, inspecting and permitting children camps, body art establishments, and public pools, testing beach water, and addressing trash and rodent issues. Last but certainly not least we host annual flu clinics and offer flu vaccine to all Salem residents.

For older adults, the flu virus can be especially challenging. As we age our immune system can weaken and we may be more susceptible to illness in the community. There is also a potential to develop further complications due to the virus, such as respiratory issues or pneumonia. The best way to prevent getting the flu is by getting the vaccine.

The flu usually comes on suddenly, and symptoms may include a fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough and sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and some people may even have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. Most people who get sick from flu will get better in several days to less than two weeks, but as mentioned before, some people can develop complications, like pneumonia, as a result of the flu.

It is important to know that flu spreads from person to person, and experts believe that it is mainly spread by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. In addition to getting a yearly flu vaccine, you should also take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs. Avoid close contact with sick people, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, stay home from work or school until at least 24 hours after fever is gone, and wash your hands often and thoroughly.

Our motto in public health is to Prevent, Promote and Protect. Prevention of serious illness is an essential part of aging in place. The Salem Board of Health and the Public Health Nurse are offering flu vaccine for all Salem residents at the Community Life Center at 401 Bridge St. this October 23rd from 9am to 11am as well as providing flu shots to any residents who are unable to attend the clinic, either by appointment or by home visit. We carry the high dose vaccine as well, which is indicated for adults over
the age of 65 to offer more protection. If you have any questions or you or a loved one are unable to leave their home for a flu shot, please call Suzanne Darmody, Public Health Nurse, at (978)619-5651 to set up an appointment.

Suzanne Darmody
Salem Board of Health
Member, Salem for All Ages Task Force

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