Get your flu shot!
(Honesdale, January 7, 2022)… Wayne Memorial Hospital has seen a steady rise in flu activity in its service area and is urging residents to get a flu shot, particularly since it is possible to have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. Some of the symptoms are similar, and only a diagnostic test will determine which if either you have. Like COVID, the flu can cause serious complications which include pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. In the worst case scenario it can lead to death.
“Last year, we saw very few cases of influenza (flu) and other respiratory illnesses, believed due mostly to masking, social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols,” said Kay Daley, RN, Infection Control. “But this year, relaxed mitigation measures appear to be contributing to a rise in these viruses once again.”
Annual flu vaccines are key, Daley added. “Every flu season is different, and the vaccine is updated each year to reflect the flu viruses circulating at the time. The one you got last year will not work this year.”
In addition to getting the flu vaccine, Daley advises people to practice “respiratory etiquette” to minimize the threat of infection. “If you use a tissue, throw it out. Don’t put it in your pocket. Keep your hands clean and away from your face.”
Flu vaccines are historically very effective, but as with COVID vaccines, there are “breakthrough cases” where a person vaccinated against the flu comes down with the flu—“but those cases are for the most part mild,” said Daley.
A flu shot is recommended especially for people at highest risk of illness such as the elderly or those with chronic diseases.
Flu symptoms can include feeling feverish/chills (even a fever is possible), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
“The flu season lasts well into spring, so it’s not too late to get your shot,” Daley said. “Getting it later is better than not getting it at all.”
Most physician offices, including Wayne Memorial Hospital’s affiliated physician offices, part of Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers, as well as many area pharmacies, offer influenza shots. Visit wmchc.net for more information about the community health centers.