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Flu Season 2020

Important Update

Every year, SEARHC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend individuals six months and older receive a flu vaccine. This year, due to the potential combined impact of the flu and COVID-19, they say it may be more important than ever.  In addition to protecting you and your loved ones from the flu, a vaccine this season can help reduce the burden on healthcare facilities combatting the pandemic and preserve medical supplies needed to care for COVID-19 patients.

Regional Flu Shot Clinics

Schedule a Flu Shot

All clinics have ample flu vaccines. Visit your community page to find your local clinic phone number and schedule a flu shot.

Flu vs. COVID-19

The flu and COVID-19 are both viral respiratory illnesses.  The flu is caused by infection with any strain of influenza virus while COVID-19 is caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.  While measures of prevention for viral illness are very similar, what will prove confusing is the number of symptoms shared by the flu and COVID-19.   It may be hard to differentiate between them based on symptoms alone and testing may be required to pinpoint a diagnosis.  This is what makes this flu season unlike any in recent memory.

Similarities:

As we mentioned, COVID-19 is proving to have almost an identical spectrum of symptoms as the flu, from displaying little-to-no symptoms all the way up to severe symptoms requiring immediate medical attention. Common shared symptoms include: fever or chills, headache, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain or body aches, and diarrhea.   Like COVID, the flu spreads through droplets – from coughing, sneezing, or talking – and typically spreads from person-to-person, between people within about 6 feet of one another.  Both the flu and COVID-19 may be spread prior to the carrier exhibiting symptoms, through periods of mild symptoms, or by those who remained asymptomatic.

Prevention

While you may think we’re sounding like a broken record at this point, regular preventative measures are the best way to prevent the flu and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.  Getting vaccinated means you won’t be exposing those around you with the flu.  Besides being vaccinated, the best thing to do to prevent catching the flu is to wash your hands and wash them often and thoroughly.  Be considerate when sneezing and coughing and refrain from touching your face.  Devices such as cell phones, remotes, tablets, keyboards, doorknobs, light switches, railings and toys can be sources for germs, so make the effort to clean these items frequently.  Boosting your immune system through healthy eating, exercise, plenty of sleep goes a long ways is fighting off viruses.  Lastly, please stay home if you are experiencing symptoms, and keep your children home from school and daycare if they are sick.

Protect yourself and your loved ones

If you are experiencing coughing, headache, fever/chills, stuffy or runny nose, fatigue/muscle aches or even just feeling the blues, surrender to rest, drink plenty of water, and call the SEARHC Nurse Advice Line at 1.800.613.0560 for next steps. If you are immune-compromised or elderly, call your doctor and stay away from clinics and emergency rooms.  The flu is no fun for anyone and can be dangerous for high-risk patients across Southeast.  Please follow the steps above so you, your family, and your neighbors can escape the flu this season and look forward to a healthy spring and summer.

Take advantage of free COVID testing programs

Across the region, free community testing programs are being offered to identify carriers of COVID-19.  Testing is quick and easy and available throughout the 2020 calendar year.  Set an example of cautiousness within your community and get tested for COVID-19 regularly.  Reducing the spread of COVID in our communities will work to limit the impact of the 2020 flu season.

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Check out some additional healthy is here blogs pertaining to the flu:
Protect yourself and your family against the flu
What about antiviral drugs to treat the flu?

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The SEARHC Crisis Help Line, 1.877.294.0074, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to residents of Southeast Alaska.