Flu shot even more vital this season

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 5:05 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Each year we show pictures of coughing and sneezing and warn flu season is just around the corner. There is an annual vaccine of course, and historically only about 50% of appropriate patients opt for the shot.

But this year health authorities are hoping more patients take heed and get this year’s influenza vaccine.

“We do know people who get the flu shot are less likely to get the flu and less likely to be hospitalized from the Influenza,” says Dr. Catherine McCarthy with University of Nevada Reno, School of Medicine Family Medicine Program.

Dr. McCarthy says there is a real concern an uptick in influenza patients will stress an already hampered medical system caring for patients who have COVID 19.

Complications from the flu can translate into the same medical needs a COVID patient has with hospitalizations, intensive care, and even ventilators. Those who suffer the most under COVID are the same who suffer from annual influenza infection.

“Anyone who is immunocompromised, patients who have chronic lung disease, emphysema, asthma, diabetes, those who have chemotherapy, lots of people are at risk for increased infection,” she says.

Dr. McCarthy says the vaccine isn’t 100% . But it can lessen the impact of influenza on the body. And it can offer immunity to others close to us who cannot for some medical reason get the flu shot.

Washoe County Health District is offering free drive through flu clinics beginning Saturday, September 19 at the Reno Sparks Livestock Events Center. There are other events on Tuesday and Wednesday. No appointment is necessary. But times do vary.

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