Carson City HHS: Flu shots help build community immunity
The first week of October 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 be around and to make people sick.
Each fall the flu returns to our community 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 they can be severe and hang around for weeks.
For those with other health conditions, like asthma or diabetes, the flu can make those illnesses worse. Even in otherwise healthy people, flu can lead to complications like ear infections, pneumonia, and even death.
Luckily, you can protect yourself and your family from the flu by coming to any of our Carson City Community Flu events this year to get your flu shot. Carson City Health and Human Services staff will be on site to administer flu vaccinations.
Do not let the location or name of any our events fool you as everyone in the community is welcome to come to any event. CCHHS can bill Medicaid, Medicare and most private insurances for your convenience, so please bring your insurance card if you have one. If you do not have insurance, the flu shot is $20; however, nobody will be turned away for an inability to pay.
COVID-19 and the seasonal flu are different viruses. This means that a seasonal flu vaccine will not protect you from COVID-19.
This year, more than ever, receiving a flu vaccination is crucial to build community immunity against the flu. Each year hospitals are overwhelmed with patients that have contracted the seasonal flu and require hospitalization. This year, COVID-19 has taken up much of the hospitals’ time and resources and will continue to do so during flu season.
By getting your flu shot, you can protect yourself, as well as your community, from needing medical attention for the seasonal flu during the ongoing pandemic.
The CDC encourages everyone 6 months of age and older to get a flu shot each year. It is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu virus. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses and doctors’ visits. Flu vaccination can also decrease missed days of work and school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalization.
People at high risk of serious flu complications definitely need a flu vaccine. High risk groups include young children, pregnant women, those 65 years of age and older, and people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease. Those who live with or care for the high-risk people listed can protect them by getting a flu shot.
The most common side effects from flu shots are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur. If these reactions occur, they may begin soon after the shot and last 1-2 days.
There are studies where some people get flu shots and others get salt-water shots. The only differences in symptoms were increased soreness in the arm and redness at the injection site among people who got the flu shot. There were no differences in terms of body aches, fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat.
Here are a few easy steps for how you can prevent the flu now and throughout the flu season:
Get your flu vaccine – an annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances of you getting the flu and lessen the chance that you will spread it to others.
Avoid close contact with sick people.
While sick, limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. Do seek medical care or other necessities as needed.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
Wash your hands often with soap and water.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Clean surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
There will be many vaccination events throughout the Quad-County region of Carson City, Douglas, Lyon, and Storey counties in October. For information on all of these events, visit our website at http://www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or “Like” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cchhs.
One of our largest events will be in Carson City on Oct. 16 from 3-6 p.m. For anyone who is unable to attend one of the community flu vaccination events, the flu vaccine will also be available at Carson City Health and Human Services’ Immunization Clinic every Thursday between 8:30–11:30 a.m. and 1:00-4:30 p.m.
Carson City Health and Human Services urges everyone to take an active role in preventing the flu this year. We need your help to keep our community healthy and to keep our healthcare system well.