As COVID-19 cases remain at a high level, public health officials are calling on Clark County residents to get a flu shot to protect against influenza and reduce the burden on the medical system.
This year’s warning comes after a mild flu season last year, largely due to flu vaccinations and precautions put in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Clark County Public Health said in an announcement Wednesday.
With schools and businesses reopened this year, Public Health said the opportunities for flu to spread have grown. While flu can occur in any month, the flu season usually runs from October through May.
Because it takes up to two weeks for protection from the flu vaccine to kick in, Public Health’s announcement said getting immunized now ensures protection once flu activity intensifies, and protection will last throughout the flu season.
“We can’t predict how severe this flu season will be, but we can all do our part to prevent flu illness and hospitalizations by getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “And those not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 — or those who are eligible for a booster dose — can safely get flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time.”
Public Health said the flu vaccine is safe and recommended for everyone 6 months and older, with greater benefits the more people are immunized. 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.
Most people with flu do not need to seek medical care, though symptoms can be severe, with fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches and fatigue.
“People who have flu symptoms and are in a high-risk group, or who are worried about their illness, should contact their health care provider,” the announcement said.
Because flu and COVID-19 symptoms are similar, health care providers may suggest testing for both flu and COVID-19 while both viruses are circulating.
Flu vaccine is widely available at local medical offices and pharmacies or by calling 800-322-2588 to find nearby flu vaccine locations.
More information about the flu, including information about vaccines and disease activity, can be found at www.KnockOutFlu.org. Learn more about the similarities and differences between flu and COVID-19 on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.