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Barnstable County Public Health Nurses Remind Residents to Take Extra Precaution Against These Viruses

As always at this time of year, the Barnstable County Public Health Nurses, a division of the Department of Health and Environment, encourage you to take extra precautions to protect yourself from the Influenza virus (Flu). Children, the elderly, and those with asthma are especially vulnerable.

Additionally, while there have been no confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in Massachusetts, you should also be taking extra precautions for this new virus.

The precautions people can take to help avoid the avoid both the flu and Coronavirus are the same:

  • Frequent hand washing, for 20 seconds with soap.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Cough hygiene – into a tissue when possible (throw it away immediately) or into your arm if necessary.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with those who are ill.
  • Stay home yourself from work or school when ill.

Call to Make an Appointment for a Flu Shot

WHEN: Appointments are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. To schedule an appointment, call 508-375-6617.

WHERE: Barnstable County Public Health Nursing Division is in the old jail building at the Barnstable County Complex at 3195 Main Street, Barnstable Village.  Please see a map of the complex.

Note* While Influenza virus (Flu) vaccines are available, there currently is no vaccine to prevent the Coronavirus infection.

Insurance | Payment

The Public Health Nurse Program is currently able to bill most insurance providers and offer a low cost for those with insurance programs they cannot currently bill.  They have state supplied vaccine available for free for uninsured residents.

Other Places Where You Can Get a Flu Shot without Insurance

Other federally and state funded health centers can provide services if you don’t have health insurance or a regular source of health care – you pay what you can afford based on your income. Locate a health center near you

Symptoms of Influenza are Similar to the Coronavirus

The CDC says the Coronavirus infection is likely to be very much like influenza. Both are essentially respiratory infections. They enter the body through being breathed in through the nose or mouth or through nearby mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth. They can cause symptoms as mild as a cold, or a flu-like combination of fever, aches, and fatigue, or serious complications like pneumonia or sepsis. Neither flu viruses nor coronavirus can be killed by ordinary antibiotics.  Coronaviruses are not usually as easily transmitted as is influenza, but the communicability of this new virus is not well known yet.

Have you recently traveled to China or Other Parts of Asia?

  • First, watch for any changes in your health for 14 days after leaving China or other parts of Asia.
  • If you get a fever or develop a cough or difficulty breathing during this 14-day period, avoid contact with others.
  • Call your doctor or healthcare provider to tell them about your symptoms and your recent travel. They will provide further instruction about steps to take before your medical visit to help to reduce the risk that you will spread your illness to other people in the office or waiting room, if that is what has made you sick.  Don’t travel while you are sick.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday, January 26, 2020, that five cases of Coronavirus have now been confirmed in the United States — all in people who had recently traveled to Wuhan, China. The most recent cases were reported in California and Arizona.

CDC Travel Warning is Still in Effect Due to Coronavirus

CDC believes at this time that symptoms of the Coronavirus may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses.

CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China. In response to the outbreak of this respiratory illness, Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan, including buses, subways, trains, and the international airport.

Treatment of Coronavirus

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for the Coronavirus. People infected with Coronavirus should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions. People who think they may have been exposed to Coronavirus should contact their healthcare provider immediately.