Thursday, October 8, 2020, Pueblo, CO – Public Health Officials in Pueblo stated the importance of getting an influenza (flu) vaccination to prevent the flu; having the flu and COVID-19 at the same time could make you more susceptible to serious health complications.
“This is an especially important year to get the flu vaccine—for yourself and for the people you love. It helps protect against influenza, a serious disease that can result in hospitalization and even death,” stated Zak Van Ooyen, RN, clinic manager at the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment.
Flu vaccine is available in Pueblo. Public Health encourages people to check with their primary care physician or local pharmacy to get vaccinated.
“You don’t want to be hospitalized with the flu ever, but it could be especially tough this year. Getting sick with flu and COVID-19 at the same time could lead to severe illness but getting vaccinated against the flu will help decrease the chances of this happening. If a lot of people get the flu vaccine this season, it will also help to decrease the burden on the hospitals so their resources can be used by those with severe cases of COVID-19,” explained Van Ooyen. Van Ooyen added, “As with COVID-19, if you get the flu you can spread it to other people who are close to you. Keeping yourself safe and healthy is a great way to care for people you know and love.
“Everyone six months and older is encouraged to get their flu shot,” Van Ooyen added, “Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination to build up protection, the sooner you get the vaccine the better. Even if you have been previously vaccinated for the flu, it is recommended to get vaccinated every year as the flu strains change each year. The vaccines are updated each year to reflect the flu strains circulating during the current flu season.”
Although you cannot get influenza from the vaccine, common side effects from the flu shot include the following:
- Soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given
- Low-grade fever
- Muscle aches
While these symptoms may be bothersome, they are mild compared to having the flu.
When you feel flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor. Flu symptoms may include:
- Sore Throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills (Not everyone with flu will have a fever.)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Take three steps to prevent the flu:
1) Get your flu vaccine.
Visit your doctor or pharmacy to get your flu vaccine. If you were vaccinated last flu season, you will need to be vaccinated again for this flu season.
2) Take everyday actions to stop the spread of germs.
Cough or sneeze into a tissue or a sleeve. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. In addition to washing hands, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will also reduce the spread of influenza; wear a face covering, physically distance, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.
3) Stay home if you are sick with flu symptoms.
Stay home (and keep children home) when sick. Stay home for at least 24 hours after fever ends without the help of fever-reducing medications. Call your medical provider to see if anti-viral drugs would be helpful and take all the medicine medical providers prescribe.
For additional information about influenza prevention visit pueblohealth.org.