The Indiana Department of Health is encouraging Hoosiers to get vaccinated against influenza to help protect them from the contagious respiratory illness that sickens thousands of Hoosiers each year and claimed more than 130 lives in the 2019-2020 flu season. The CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. State Health Commissioner Dr. Box said that because infants under 6 months can’t be vaccinated, it’s important that anyone in a household where a young baby lives or visits get a flu shot to protect the child. Healthcare workers also are urged to get a flu vaccine to reduce their risk of transmitting illness to their patients. COVID-19 and influenza are both contagious respiratory illnesses that are spread primarily by respiratory droplets released when infected people cough, sneeze, talk, laugh or sing, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while the flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to confirm a diagnosis. The measures recommended to prevent the spread of influenza are similar to those recommended for helping Hoosiers prevent the spread of coronavirus.
These tips and measures can be found on the WIMS Facebook page.
Although anyone can get the flu, some people are at higher risk of flu-related complications, such as pneumonia, hospitalization and death. High-risk individuals include pregnant women,
young children (especially those too young to get vaccinated), people with chronic illnesses, people who are immunocompromised and the elderly.
It is especially important for these individuals to be vaccinated each year.
Flu season typically runs from October through May. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body.
To find the nearest location to get a flu shot, visit https://vaccinefinder.org/.
According to the CDC, flu vaccinations should be postponed for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of whether they have symptoms, until they have met the criteria to discontinue their isolation, to avoid exposing healthcare personnel and other patients to the virus that causes COVID-19. When scheduling or confirming appointments for vaccination, patients should notify their provider’s office or clinic in advance if they currently have or develop any symptoms of COVID-19. For more information on influenza, vaccinations and prevention, visit the Indiana Department of Health at https://www.in.gov/isdh/25462.htm.