Flu and COVID-19 are spreading this winter. A flu vaccine is one of the best ways to stop the flu. It is more important than ever to do what we can to stop illnesses like flu, so we do not overwhelm our health care system. Along with getting a flu vaccine, it is important to cover your cough, stay home when sick, wash your hands often, wear a mask, and stay 6 feet from others to stop spreading disease.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year. It is especially important for people with long-term health conditions (chronic diseases), pregnant people, young children, and older adults. Flu vaccination has been shown to lower the risk of getting sick with flu as well as to reduce the risk of having a serious flu outcome, such as going to the hospital or being admitted to the intensive care unit.
Flu is an illness caused by a virus that attacks the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu can spread in the air when people with the virus cough or sneeze, or by someone touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching their mouth or eyes.
Symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, headache, being very tired, and body aches. These symptoms usually start suddenly and may be bad enough to stop your daily activities. Since people with long-term health conditions are more likely to get very sick from flu, this could mean having to miss many days of work, school, or other activities.
Flu season can last through the month of April. It is not too late to get your flu vaccine to help protect yourself and the people around you. Flu vaccine is available at many locations: your doctor or other health care provider’s office; county health departments; pharmacies; and community vaccination clinics. Some clinics around the state of Minnesota offer free or low-cost flu vaccine for people who do not have health insurance. It is safe to go to a clinic. Call your clinic to learn what they are doing to keep patients safe. Find a clinic near you at VaccineFinder (https://vaccinefinder.org/).