This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Flu season is back, so is the free drive-through flu clinic.
This week marks the official start of flu season in the United States. Beginning in October and lasting through May, flu season is the period when flu germs are most likely to circulate and make people sick. Each fall, the flu returns and brings with it the fever, cough, sore throat, congestion, muscle aches and fatigue that many of us dread. The symptoms can be mild and last only a few days, or can be severe and hang around for weeks. For those with underlying health conditions, such as asthma or diabetes, flu can make those illnesses worse. Even in otherwise-healthy people, flu can lead to complications such as ear infections and pneumonia.
You can help prevent the flu by taking a few easy steps now and throughout the flu season.
Get your flu vaccine: Available as either a shot or as a nasal spray, an annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get the flu and lessen the chance that you will spread it to others. Everyone older than 6 months should be vaccinated, except people who are allergic to eggs, those with a previous severe reaction to flu vaccine, or people with a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
Wash your hands: Handwashing prevents the spread of flu and other germs, such as the common cold. Good hand hygiene can protect you against many types of germs. Use soap and water or, if it is not available, hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean.
Cover your cough: If you do find yourself coughing and sneezing, cough into your elbow to prevent spreading germs to those around you.
If you become ill, stay home to avoid making others sick.
Get your free flu vaccine: Join Carson City Health and Human Services this Saturday for our 10th annual free flu-vaccination event. This year’s will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carson City Corporate Yard, at 3303 Butti Way (between Fairview Drive and Airport Road) in Carson City. Save time at the clinic by visiting www.gethealthy carsoncity.org/seasonalflu to download and fill out your questionnaire in advance. Forms will be available Saturday for those who do not have a form already completed.