Thank this holiday season
Shorter days and cooler temperatures are telltale signs that fall is on its way. Unfortunately, another sign of the season is the onset of increased influenza activity.
The flu season can last from fall through May, with a peak between December and February. According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza cases last year were historically low, in large part thanks to the widespread practice of safety measures to combat another wide-ranging respiratory illness. spread – COVID-19 – including school closures, mask wearing and social distancing. With less common practice of these measures in recent months, we might see a slight increase in influenza cases similar to levels in previous years. This potential – along with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic – makes it even more important that we each do what we can to minimize our risks, protect our health, and protect the health of those around us. Getting the flu shot is an essential way to fight it.
The flu (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses and can cause mild to severe illness and even death in some situations. Everyone is susceptible to the flu, but those most at risk of developing complications from these viruses include children under five, adults 65 and over, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes. nursing and other long-term care facilities; and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, and blood disorders.
At Meadowview Regional Medical Center and Fleming County Hospital, one of the critical ways to make communities healthier is to make sure our neighbors understand how to fight preventable diseases like the flu. As we have all learned during this time, our health means everything and protecting it has never been more important. There are a few key ways to protect yourself, your family and our community; prevent the spread of the flu and even speed up your recovery if you get sick.
First, and most importantly, get yourself vaccinated. As we have seen this year with the safety and success of COVID-19 vaccines to protect us from this vicious disease, the flu shot is the best way to protect yourself against influenza viruses. Although it is still possible to get the flu after being vaccinated, studies show that getting the flu shot can make your illness less severe if you get sick. Getting the vaccine also gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you are doing everything you can to protect yourself against the flu.
The CDC recommends annual flu shots for anyone six months of age and older, along with any age-appropriate flu shot. If you are considering a nasal spray influenza vaccine, it is important to know that this option is CDC approved for use in non-pregnant people, ages two to 49, and that there is a precaution against this option for people with certain underlying factors. medical conditions. You should discuss with your healthcare professional which method of influenza vaccination is best for you.
Like COVID-19 vaccines, flu shots can take about two weeks to become fully effective, so you should plan to get your flu shot before influenza activity begins in your area. A good rule of thumb is to get vaccinated no later than the end of October.
And while we’re on the subject of COVID-19 vaccines, if you haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 yet, there’s no better time than now, especially as COVID-19 cases continue to increase. spread and the potential for influenza activity increases. You can even easily receive both vaccines on the same day, to save time. If you haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19 yet, find out if you can get the flu shot. Getting vaccinated against both viruses is your best defense against infection with one or both of these diseases.
You can visit the Buffalo Trace District Health Department, a walk-in clinic or pharmacy, or your primary care provider’s office to get your flu shot. If you don’t have a provider, we can connect you with one. Visit our website and browse our Find a Doctor tab at meadowviewregional.com/find-a-doctor or flemingcountyhospital.org/find-a-doctor or call 833.800.DOCS (3627).
In addition to getting the vaccine, there are other simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family and help prevent the spread of the flu and other infections like COVID-19 during flu season and all year round, in particular:
– Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
– Wearing a face mask in indoor public spaces
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
– Avoid sharing food, cups or cooking utensils
– Regularly disinfect your home and personal belongings, such as doorknobs, light switches, children’s toys and play areas
– Stay home from school or work if you are sick to prevent the spread of germs
– Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue, sleeve or elbow, NOT your bare hands
– Call your primary care provider with any questions
Meadowview Regional Medical Center and Fleming County Hospital, we’re taking additional steps to help prevent the spread of influenza, COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses by:
– Implement universal masking for patients, providers, employees, visitors and anyone entering our establishment
– Installation of stations filled with alcohol-based disinfectants, tissues and hands-free bins throughout our establishment
– Continuation of rigorous cleaning and disinfection protocols
– Encourage all patients, staff and visitors to get vaccinated against influenza and COVID-19
If you or someone you know notices any symptoms, including cough, sore throat, fever, or other upper respiratory symptoms, please see your health care provider immediately. Many of the more common flu symptoms are compatible with COVID-19, so it can be difficult to tell the difference between them. Tests may be needed to confirm a diagnosis. Don’t ignore your symptoms. Limit your contact with others as much as possible when symptoms appear and stay home (or keep your child at home) for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, except to see a doctor (if you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to self-isolate for a longer period).
The good news is that when you take action on your symptoms, see a healthcare provider, and the flu is caught early, prescription antiviral drugs can often help treat illness and reduce the length of a person’s illness. or two days.
If you have any questions or concerns about this year’s flu season, we can help. Simply call 606.759.5311.
For more information on the 2021—22 influenza season, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/flu or contact the Buffalo Trace District Health Department at 606.564.9447.