Flu vaccine

MANSFIELD — This year getting your flu shot is more than just preventing the flu. Reducing the burden of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths will help our health care system conserve medical resources as they care for people with COVID-19 during the typical flu season.

Richland Public Health will hold a drive thru flu vaccine clinic for Richland County residents on Tuesday, Oct. 13 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Richland County Fairgrounds (750 N. Home Road, Mansfield, Ohio).

Everyone stays in their own vehicle. Everyone must wear masks (unless under age 2).

Multiple people in one car may get their flu vaccine but paperwork will be needed for each individual.

There will be stations to distribute forms and gather information at the drive thru.

Richland Public Health Nurses will be available on both sides of each vehicle to give the proper vaccine dosage to each person after gathering documentation.

Richland Public Health recommends everyone age 6 months and older get an influenza (“flu”) vaccine. This recommendation follows Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

Flu vaccines are FREE (no co-pay) when using participating insurances accepted by Richland Public Health. Please bring your insurance card and a photo ID. Richland Public Health cost for flu vaccine varies depending on age and type of vaccine used.

Richland Public Health flu vaccines will also be available by appointment after the Oct. 13 drive thru clinic. More information will be available after that date.

For additional information about influenza, visit our website www.richlandhealth.org, or talk with your pediatrician or family physician. For special home-bound services, call 419-774-4540.

Influenza is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every year, usually between October and May. Flu is caused by influenza viruses, and is spread mainly by coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Anyone can get the flu. Flu strikes suddenly and can last several days. Symptoms vary by age, but can include: fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, and runny or stuffy nose.

Flu is more dangerous for some people. Infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system are at greatest risk.

“No one likes to be sick. Getting the flu will cause you to miss work or school, along with your favorite activities,” Amy Schmidt, Director of Nursing at Richland Public Health, said. “You might also pass the flu on to your family, friends, or co-workers. Protect yourself and others. Get your flu shot.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cold and flu season runs from approximately October to May, with a peak somewhere between December and February. Flu can be widespread, with up to 49 million cases each year in the United States.

Everyone from age six months and up should get an annual flu shot. The CDC recommends getting your flu shot in October, but if you miss that month, get one as soon as possible.

About flu shots

Although no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing the flu, getting vaccinated has a number of benefits. Vaccines:

Reduce flu-related doctor visits by 40-60%.*

Lower rates of cardiac events.

Reduce hospitalizations among people with diabetes and chronic lung disease.

Lower intensive care unit admissions, as well as the length of ICU and hospital stays.

Getting your flu shot will reduce the chance of having to miss work or holiday activities.

Richland County Flu Recent Flu Numbers

Richland County has had 1,063 cases of influenza so far in 2020 with most coming in January and February.

It’s not just feeling ill: 93 Richland County residents ended up in the hospital from influenza in 2019 and 94 so far in 2020 (mostly in January through March).

The Richland Public Health flu immunization program is partially funded by local tax levy dollars.

*Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

FAQ for Flu 2020 and COVID-19

Will there be flu along with COVID-19 in the fall and winter?

While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. CDC recommends that all people 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.

Can I have flu and COVID-19 at the same time?

Yes. It is possible have flu (as well as other respiratory illnesses) and COVID-19 at the same time. Experts are still studying how common this can be.

Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19

Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce health care resources.

Is COVID-19 more dangerous than flu?

Flu and COVID-19 can both result in serious illness, including illness resulting in hospitalization or death. While there is still much to learn about COVID-19, at this time, it does seem as if COVID-19 is more deadly than seasonal influenza; however, it is too early to draw any conclusions from the current data. This may change as we learn more about the number of people who are infected who have mild illnesses.

Flu Activity

Will new flu viruses circulate this season?

Flu viruses are constantly changing so it’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year. More information about how flu viruses change is available.

When will flu activity begin and when will it peak?

The timing of flu is difficult to predict and can vary in different parts of the country and from season to season. In general, flu season begins in December and last until April. However, some flu seasons start sooner and some last longer. The CDC recommend that everyone get this season’s flu vaccine by the end of October.

This year, it’s about more than a flu vaccine

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 will be more important than ever.

Flu vaccines will not prevent COVID-19, but they will reduce the burden of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths on the health care system and conserve scarce medical resources for the care of people with COVID-19.

CDC estimates that last season, fewer than half of Americans got a flu vaccine and at least 410,000 people were hospitalized from flu. Increased vaccination coverage would reduce that burden.

Most flu vaccines protect against the four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common.

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get annual flu vaccine by the end of October.

Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.

People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.

Many people at higher risk from flu also seem to be at higher risk from COVID-19.

Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for people at higher risk to keep from spreading flu to them. This is especially true for people who work in long-term care facilities, which are home to many of the people most vulnerable to flu and COVID-19.

Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.

It may be hard to distinguish Flu symptoms from COVID-19 symptoms

Flu symptoms may include:

Fever & Chills

Cough

Sore Throat

Runny or stuffy nose

Body aches

Headaches

Fatigue

Vomiting

Diarrhea

COVID-19 symptoms may include:

Fever or chills

Cough

Sore Throat

Congestion or runny nose

Body or Muscle aches

Headaches

Fatigue

Nausea or Vomiting

Diarrhea

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Loss of taste or smell

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

Take everyday preventive actions that are always recommended to reduce the spread of flu.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

Cover coughs and sneezes.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause flu.

For flu, CDC recommends that people stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. Fever should be gone without the need to use a fever-reducing medicine. The stay-at-home guidance for COVID-19 may be different.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, local governments or public health departments may recommend additional precautions be taken in your community. Follow those instructions.

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

If you are sick with flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness. Flu antiviral drugs are not designed to treat COVID-19.

Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.

Antiviral drugs can make flu illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high risk factors pdf icon[308 KB, 2 Pages], treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.

Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk factor or is very sick from flu.

If you are at higher risk from flu and get flu symptoms, call your health care provider early so you can be treated with flu antivirals if needed. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.

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