Flu season is approaching, and this year it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot. While we don’t yet have a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, we do have a vaccine to prevent influenza.
“Flu shots are the best way to prevent influenza illness and hospitalizations,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “By getting a flu shot, we will all do our part to ensure our health care system isn’t overburdened while influenza and COVID-19 are circulating in our community.”
Flu can occur in any month, but transmission primarily occurs October through May. It can take up to two weeks for protection from the flu shot to build up. Getting immunized now ensures you’re protected once flu activity intensifies, and you’ll remain protected throughout flu season.
The flu shot is safe and recommended for everyone 6 months and older. Immunization not only protects the person receiving the shot, but higher immunization rates also help to protect those most vulnerable to complications. Young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older and people with asthma, diabetes, heart disease and long-term health conditions are at greatest risk of complications from flu.
While most people with the flu do not need to seek medical are, flu symptoms can be severe and typically include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills and fatigue. Those who have flu symptoms and are in a high-risk group, or who are worried about their illness, should contact their health care provider.
In addition to immunization, everyday practices can reduce the chance of catching or spreading influenza. These practices can also help slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Stay home when sick and limit contact with others.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Cough or sneeze into your arm or cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. Throw away the tissue and wash your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an alternative when soap and water aren’t available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wear a cloth face covering when around people you don’t live with.
For information on the similarities and differences between flu and COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
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