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NDT - Sanford Health talks Flu and COVID Vaccines, symptoms - Sept 14

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 12:39 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Fall is approaching and that means we are entering flu season. But is getting a flu shot still a good idea during the COVID-19 pandemic? Sanford Pediatrician Dr. Stephanie Hanson tells us why being immunized against the flu is more important than ever. Here’s the information shared by Sanford Health:

Why is there an increased risk of getting the flu this time of the year?

· Flu viruses infect the nose, throat, and lungs. They are usually spread from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. They also can spread when you touch a hard surface where these viruses have landed. The virus is easier to spread as it gets colder. We’re indoors more, with less fresh air and in closer quarters with family, friends and coworkers.

Both flu and COVID-19 viruses are spread the same way. And, just like with COVID-19, wearing a face mask, social distancing and frequent hand-washing will reduce your risk of infection and also spreading the virus.

Last year there was a record-low number of flu cases during the pandemic, so why is it important for people to get the flu shot this year?

· The record-low number of flu cases last year can most likely be attributed to the widespread mask-wearing across the country. As we enter flu season this year, mask-wearing is much less common, therefore, we can expect to see many more cases of the flu.

· The best defense against the flu is to get a flu shot as early as it is available. And encourage your family members, co-workers and friends to get one too. This year, it’s especially important for adults and children older than six months to get a flu shot.

· This fall, Sanford Health and other health systems will once again be handling two circulating viruses with influenza and COVID-19. The flu can make you even more susceptible to other infections that can be life-threatening. By getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu, you’re protecting yourself and your community from illness, as well as freeing up medical resources to care for COVID patients.

If you do catch the flu, what should you do?

· If you do get sick, stay home until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours.

· Antiviral medicines can reduce how long you’ll have the flu. They must be prescribed by your doctor and started within the first two days. You can take medicines to help relieve congestion, nasal discharge, aches and fever. Do not give aspirin to children with a fever. The drug of choice for children is acetaminophen.

· Bed rest and drinking more fluids are highly recommended.

· Symptoms of flu and COVID-19 can be very similar, so it’s a good idea to contact your doctor to see if you should be tested.

Can people get the flu shot even if they recently received the COVID-19 vaccine?

· Yes absolutely! In fact, the CDC now says you can receive a COVID vaccine at the same time as other vaccinations. So, you can get the flu shot and the COVID vaccine at the same time!

· It is incredibly important for those ages 12 and above to receive their COVID vaccination. Not only do vaccines protect the person who gets vaccinated, but they also help keep the virus from spreading to others. With new variants of the virus spreading, it is critical to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible to decrease the spread of the virus.

When can families get their vaccinations?

· Sanford has made getting the flu shot incredibly convenient and easy this year. On Saturday, Sept. 18th, and Saturday, Oct. 2nd, we’re hosting drive-thru flu vaccination blitzes from 9 a.m. to noon in the west parking lot at the Fargodome.

· We are also hosting a flu vaccination blitz on Thursday, Sept. 30th, from 5-7 p.m. at the Fargodome in the main lobby.

· The flu shot events are open to children and adults, and appointments are required to receive flu shots. Families can visit the Sanford Health website to learn more and schedule their appointment. If none of the flu shot event times work for you, you can call any of our primary care clinics to make an appointment.

· And if you still need to receive your COVID vaccination, you can call any of our primary care clinics to schedule an appointment or schedule an appointment online.

· To find out more information regarding flu shots, as well as COVID vaccinations visit sanfordhealth.org.

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