Catawba County News
It's time for flu shots
Published: October 13, 2021
With cooler weather on the way, now is the time for Catawba County residents to get their annual flu shots. Typically, seasonal influenza, also known as the flu, begins circulating in higher numbers from October to May.
Although it is a common illness in the fall and winter months, the flu can cause serious health complications, including death. Last year, masking, distancing and other measures to prevent COVID-19 also helped prevent the spread of the flu and we experienced few cases. For many people, symptoms of both illnesses are similar and one could be mistaken for the other, or people could have both at the same time.
“Despite a light influenza season last year, we should still do everything we can when it comes to preventing the spread of flu this year,” said Sarah Rhodes, Clinical Nursing Supervisor. “Flu shots, frequent handwashing, covering coughs and other measures can all reduce the transmission of flu in our community.”
As in previous years, the best defense against the flu is vaccination, which is why Catawba County Public Health encourages individuals to visit their medical provider for a flu shot before flu season arrives in full force.
This year, it is especially important to get the flu shot, as people who receive the shot are less likely to come down with the flu and those who do happen to are less likely to experience serious complications that may require hospitalization. This helps the medical system avoid becoming overwhelmed with both COVID-19 and flu cases at the same time.
Although they are not 100% effective, flu vaccines are matched to best cover flu strains that scientists identify as the ones most likely to circulate in a given year and are effective at preventing most cases of the illness. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body for about two weeks after vaccination, and these antibodies provide protection during the flu season.
Flu shots are available at many physician offices and pharmacies throughout the community. For people who do not have a medical provider or who wish to obtain a shot at Public Health, appointments in our Immunization clinic can be made by calling (828) 695-5881. Flu shots are available for individuals age 6 months and older.
“With flu shots widely available in Catawba County, this is a step everyone can take to protect themselves and their loved ones from this easily spread illness,” said Rhodes. “Although COVID-19 has taken some attention away from the flu, it can still be a severe illness with serious complications.”
The CDC recommends anyone 6 months or older get the flu vaccine. It is highly recommended for individuals who are at a higher risk for flu-related complications, including the following:
- Anyone with underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or chronic lung disease
- Pregnant women
- People 65 years or older
- Caregivers, especially those individuals caring for infants or people with health complications