Infectious Disease Services

COMMUNICABLE DISEASE UNIT

732-341-9700, ext. 7515
Daniel E. Regenye, Public Health Coordinator, dregenye@ochd.org
Jennifer Crawford, Supervisor, Communicable Disease Unit, jcrawford@ochd.org


The Communicable Disease Unit (CDU) is responsible for the control of communicable and other infectious diseases in Ocean County. The CDU receives reports of disease from laboratories and health professionals for investigation as outlined in New Jersey Administrative Code 8:57. Staff of the CDU promptly investigates these reports and monitor disease trends in order to protect the public health of our residents, providing education, implementing control measures to prevent further spread as needed, and identifying the source of infection whenever possible.

CLINIC SERVICES

Karen Barish, Assistant Director of Nursing

732.341.9700 ext. 7302

kbarish@ochd.org



The Ocean County Health Department offers a variety of services to the community. Many of our clinic services are free to the community with the exception of a few that are offered at a low cost. CLICK HERE to view our clinic services program calendar.

  • Eye Screening Clinic**
  • Occupational Hepatitis B Vaccination Clinic
  • Rabies Pre-Exposure Immunizations
  • HIV Counseling and Testing**
  • Adult Immunizations
  • Childhood Lead Poisoning and Prevention**
  • HIV/AIDS Care Treatment and Support Groups**
  • New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Program**
  • Chronic Disease Screening Program**
  • Seasonal Flu Shots
  • Shingles Vaccinations
  • Tuberculosis Clinic
  • Tdap Vaccinations
  • Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic**
  • Hepatitis C Testing**


** Free clinic services offered

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FLU Prevention and FAQ's

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

What is Influenza (also Flu)? The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent this illness is by getting a flu vaccination each fall. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.

What flu vaccines is the OCHD offering this year? Options this season include:
  • Standard dose flu shots- Intramuscular injection that includes 4 flu strains. Ages 6 months and up.
  • High-dose flu shot- Intramuscular injection that includes 3 flu strains and contains more antigen for a stronger immune response. Only offered for ages 65 years and up.


Where can I get a flu vaccine?
  • Flu vaccines are offered by many doctor’s offices, clinics, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even by some schools.
  • The Ocean County Health Department holds numerous clinics throughout the County for the convenience of our residents. Click here to access our current flu schedule.
  • If you are an individual who is homebound, please call clinic services at 732. 341. 9700 ext. 7604 to reserve a spot to receive a homebound flu shot.
 

When and how often should I get vaccinated?

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year by the end of October, if possible. However, getting vaccinated later is OK. Vaccination should continue throughout the flu season, even in January or later.
Symptoms of Flu include:
  • fever (usually high)
  • headache
  • extreme tiredness
  • dry cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle aches
  • Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults
People at high risk for complications from influenza:
  • People 65 years of age and older.
  • Residents of long-term care facilities housing persons with chronic medical conditions.
  • People who have long-term health problems with: - heart disease - kidney disease - lung disease - metabolic disease, such as diabetes - asthma - anemia, and other blood disorders
  • People with certain muscle or nerve disorders (such as seizure disorders or severe cerebral palsy) that can lead to breathing or swallowing problems.
  • People with a weakened immune system due to: - HIV/AIDS or other diseases affecting the immune system - long-term treatment with drugs such as steroids - cancer treatment with x-rays or drugs
  • People 6 months to 18 years of age on long-term aspirin treatment (these people could develop Reye Syndrome if they got influenza).
  • Women who will be pregnant during influenza season.
  • All children 6-59 months of age.
  • People who can spread influenza to those at high risk:
  • Household contacts and out-of-home caretakers of children from 0-59 months of age.
  • Physicians, nurses, family members, or anyone else in close contact with people at risk of serious influenza.


What should I do to protect myself from the flu this season? CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.

In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, you can take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others. In addition, there are prescription medications called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat influenza illness.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

The Clinic Services division of the Ocean County Health Department can be reached directly at 732-341-9700, ext. 7604. We will gladly answer any other questions you may have. Our hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 8am – 5pm.


Steps to Prevent the Flu:

  1. Wash your hands-  it is important to wash your hands frequently throughout the day.
  2. Avoid close contact- steer clear of family and friends when they are sick to avoid catching their germs.
  3. Cover your nose and mouth- Whenever you cough or sneeze, be sure to cover your mouth with your elbow to avoid the spread of germs.
  4. Avoid touching your face- Keep your hands off of your eyes, nose, and mouth.  These areas are portals for germs to enter your body.
  5. Stay home when you’re sick- Avoid contact with co-workers, family, and friends when you are sick to avoid spreading your germs.
  6. Know when to seek medical treatment-  It is important to monitor your signs and symptoms.  If you have flu-like symptoms you may want to see your primary physician for anti-viral medications.
If you are sick with the flu: Some people may only experience mild symptoms of the flu.  However, sometimes the illness is more severe and leads to complications.  Follow these tips to help yourself recover faster when sick with the flu.
  1. Get plenty of rest-  Sleep restores your body’s immune system.  Avoid strenuous activity and added stress.
  2. Drink fluids- Dehydration is common when sick.  Providing your body with enough fluids can lessen your chance of dehydration.  Drink plenty of water and sports drinks will to stay hydrated.
  3. Stay home-  The influenza virus is highly contagious.  It is important to take off work and school when you are sick so you don’t spread the virus.
  4. Avoid close contact- The influenza virus may spread quickly to those you are in close contact with.  Distance yourself from family and friends during the time that you are sick.
 
Flu vaccines: Take the initiative to get vaccinated!  It is important for you to receive a flu vaccination every year.  Vaccines provide your body with the immunity and protection against influenza viruses.  There are many convenient locations you can go to get your flu shot.
  • Your primary care physician
  • The Ocean County Health Department offers vaccines at various locations throughout Ocean County.  For a schedule of upcoming flu clinics in Ocean County, CLICK HERE or call Clinic Services at (732) 341- 9700, Ext. 7604
  • Many pharmacies now offer flu shots.  For local participating pharmacies, CLICK HERE
  100 Years of Influenza Prevention at Work As we approach the upcoming influenza season, we recognize 100 years of public health initiatives, developed in large part to prevent the same devastation experienced in the 1918 influenza pandemic.  Over 50 million deaths resulted from this event, 1-3% of the world’s population at the time.  This ultimately led to the evolution of vaccinations, anti-virals, active surveillance, and many other preventative measures. As we reflect on past discoveries, we are able to learn how to prepare for a healthy future.  It is important for everyone 6 months of age and older to get vaccinated each year.  There are also a few more steps you can take to prevent the seasonal flu.


Treatment

If you are suffering from flu-like symptoms, it is best to visit your primary care physician at the onset of symptoms.  If you test positive for the flu, your doctor may prescribe an anti-viral medication. Anti-viral drugs are prescription medications that can minimize the severity of flu symptoms.  They can also minimize the amount of time you are sick by 1-2 days.  When taken as prescribed and in a timely manner, they can prevent flu complications, such as pneumonia. At home remedies may help to minimize the discomfort of symptoms.  Some common remedies include:

  • Drink fluids- avoid dehydration by ensuring you drink enough water and electrolyte drinks
  • Sip on soup- chicken noodle soup may help to alleviate upper respiratory symptoms
  • Rest-  be sure to stay home, relax, and avoid close contact with other people
  • Gargle- gargling with salt-water can help to relieve throat pain
  • Steam and humidity- breathing in moist air may relieve nasal congestion and sinus pressures.  Take a steamy shower or use a humidifier device
For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/treatment/index.html


Additional resources:

OCHD Flu Clinic Calendar Link

Personal PHU2 Initiative Link

CDC Flu Protection Info

100 Years of Influenza

100 Years of Influenza Poster