Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/04/2020 --Each year, seasonal flu infections cause a variety of symptoms that start suddenly. The flu typically makes individuals feel rotten for three to five days. However, it can be dangerous for young children, older adults, and others with certain health conditions. Everyone needs a flu shot every year to protect themselves and others in the community.
"This year, however, we are also faced with another infectious disease that has very similar symptoms, COVID-19," said Tarama Sheffield, MD, Community Health and Prevention Medical Director for Intermountain Healthcare. "Many of the same resources used in hospitals to care for influenza patients are being used for COVID, so it is more important than ever for individuals to receive their annual flu vaccine."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises everyone ages six months and older to receive an annual flu vaccination. "This year, there is even greater emphasis," said Sheffield. While we don't have a vaccine available at this point for COVID, we do have one that protects against influenza."
There are a variety of options this year when it comes to your flu vaccine:
- Quadrivalent regular dose injectable (or "shot")
- Intranasal or nasal spray
- High-Dose quadrivalent for people age 65+ years
"The best way to find the vaccine that is right for you is to consult with your doctor or pharmacist," said Dr. Sheffield.
"Once you are vaccinated, there is still more to do to stop the spread of disease," adds Dr. Sheffield. "The same prevention methods work for flu or COVID, or even the common cold."
- Wear a mask, being sure it covers the nose and mouth snuggly.
- Wash hands often and well, and have children do the same.
- If sick, stay home from school or work.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, if possible.
- Cover sneezes and coughs with an elbow or tissue.
- Use a tissue once, then throw it away and wash hands.
Seasonal flu symptoms usually come on fast, causing chills, fever, muscle aches, tiredness, dry cough, and sore throat. Occasionally, seasonal flu will cause a runny or stuffy nose or, in young children, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Flu can be very serious. The CDC estimates that influenza was associated with more than 35.5 million illnesses, more than 16.5 million medical visits, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths during the 2018–2019 influenza season.
Like many viruses, COVID and flu prefers air travel, catching rides on the tiny droplets that fly out when someone sneezes or coughs. However, it can also stick around on surfaces for a while. If an individual touches something that was recently contaminated and then touches their mouth or nose, they can get infected, too. It is important to note the virus can be spread before someone shows signs of illness.
For more information about influenza and flu vaccine, go to intermountainhealthcare.org/flu or www.cdc.gov/flu.
About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see intermountainhealthcare.org.