MS coalition forms to fight flu, urges flu shot


Still - amid worries of an uptick in COVID-19 cases as children return to school, the weather turns colder, and flu season approaches - Gov. Charlie Baker says the state "can do better". Flu shots can be obtained through local health care providers, drugstores or big box store pharmacies or medical clinics, and local health departments. This will hinder efforts in hospitals to identify suspected COVID-19 cases. However, there are better and worse times of year to get your annual flu shot.

On the possibility of a 'twindemic, ' Dr. Ilboudo said we could see coronavirus cases increase this flu season if people do not properly follow safety guidelines.

"The hope is that the experience of handwashing, staying away when you're sick, physically distancing and masking will reduce the level of flu in the community", Levine said.

OSF St. Francis Infection Preventionist Nicole Pirlot provided additional information on the symptoms both illnesses have in common.

The DIDHD also encourages new parents, health care professionals, and those who have contact with people age 65 and older to get vaccinated to help protect these high-risk individuals.

Flu shots are approved and recommended for pregnant women. While influenza activity dropped off sharply with the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, cumulative hospitalization rates among pediatric and young adult patients were the highest in the last 10 seasons, and 188 pediatric influenza deaths tied with 2017-2018 as the highest number recorded, she said. "The point they made to us at that time was from a diagnostic point of view, from a care delivery point of view, from a capacity point of view, having the flu and COVID-19 surge in the commonwealth at exactly the same time would be an incredibly hard situation for them to manage their way through". Therefore, it is recommended that everyone should get the flu vaccine this year. Already they are seeing an influx of younger patients being brought in to get tested for COVID-19 since the school year began.

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They stress that influenza vaccination for all people above six months old is vital to prevent flu infection, especially this season when coronavirus and flu might co-circulate. Getting vaccinated early in the fall helps to reduce the chances residents may get the flu before the vaccine is able to provide full protection, officials said.

Flu symptoms include fever, chills, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. "Northern Hemisphere countries that are actively suppressing Covid-19 to some degree should get a lot of protection [from influenza] by doing that".

PHDM Immunization/Communicable Disease Coordinator Jennie Miller said it was not possible to accurately predict the course of the upcoming flu season.

For the first time, frontline social care workers will also be included in the scheme with pharmacists authorised to carry out jabs at their places of work to make it even easier to get vaccinated. People with some health conditions should not receive the nasal flu vaccine, so patients should consult with their doctor if they have a concern.

The DHSC added it would decide when to invite people aged between 50 and 64 to participate once they have attended to those most at risk. With the ever-looming fear of another serious wave of Covid-19 this fall and winter, avoiding anything that could put someone at risk for Covid-19 makes sense.

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