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MONTPELIER, IDAHO –Influenza (the flu) is a serious contagious disease that attacks the respiratory tract in humans. The flu is different from a cold in that it comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, and body aches. Most people recover from influenza on their own. However, for some people influenza can be extremely serious, resulting in hospitalization and sometimes even death.

According to the CDC, flu viruses and COVID-19 viruses will be spreading at the same time during the 2021-2022 influenza season. The CDC recommends that individuals 6 months and older should get a flu shot to reduce prevalence of illness caused by influenza and reduce symptoms that might be confused with those of COVID-19. To reduce your risk of contracting the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends doing the following:

1) Get your flu vaccination.

It is the single best way to prevent the flu. Remember, even if you got a flu shot last year, you will still need the flu shot this year to be protected this flu season. The best time to get your flu shot is before flu activity is high in your community. It is best to get your vaccine before the end of October. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. It is especially critical for some groups:

1. older people over age 65

2. young children, under age 2

3. people with chronic lung disease (such as asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions, and certain other long-term health conditions

4. pregnant women

5. health care workers

2) Wear a mask and social distance.

These practices can help protect you and others from respiratory viruses, like flu and the virus that causes COVID-19.

3) Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.

4) Stay home when you are sick.

If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

5) Cover your mouth and nose.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

6) Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

7) Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

8) Practice other good health habits.

Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods.

The regular flu vaccine as well as high dose vaccine is now available at Southeastern Idaho Public Health (SIPH). The flu vaccine can be administered with most other vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have not yet received your COVID-19 vaccine, now is the time.

The Bear Lake County Office will be holding a flu vaccine walk-in clinic on Thursday, September 30th from 8 am – Noon and 1 pm – 5 pm at 431 Clay Street, Montpelier. Flu vaccine is also available during SIPH’s normal business hours Monday – Thursday 7:30 am – 6:00 pm. To schedule your appointment, contact the Bear Lake County Office at 208.847.3000 or visit siphidaho.org for more information.

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