The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is urging Californians to get vaccinated against the flu now.
In California, flu season is October through May and flu activity usually begins to increase in late November or December. It takes a couple of weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity. Getting vaccinated now before the flu season ramps up is the best time to protect yourself, your family and your community, CDPH said in a news release.
“In the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, a severe flu season could be devastating for California,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, Director of the California Department of Public Health and State Public Health Officer. “Getting a flu shot is a safe and simple thing we can all do to keep people out of the hospital and reduce the strain on our health care system.”
CDPH recommends the annual flu vaccination for everyone six months of age and older. Getting vaccinated against the flu is particularly important for people at high-risk of severe disease and hospitalization, including:
- People 65 years and older.
- People who smoke or have underlying medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, asthma, lung disease, neurologic disorders and weakened immune systems.
- Pregnant women and children under five years of age.
- Caregivers and residents in long-term care facilities.
- Essential workers who encounter others outside their homes or at higher risk because of their occupation.
CDPH encourages Californians to contact their health care provider, physician’s office, or clinic about getting the flu vaccine. Adults may also get immunized at the pharmacy where they generally pick up their prescriptions. Pharmacies accept most insurance, including Medi-Cal. Some local health departments may offer low- or no-cost flu immunizations. If you still haven’t had the COVID-19 vaccine or are due for a booster, the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine can be given on the same day, according to CDPH.
Besides getting immunized, you can also take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs:
- Continue to wear a mask.
- Stay away from people who are sick and stay home when you or other family members are sick for at least 24 hours after symptoms go away before you are around others.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow, arm, or disposable tissue. If you use disposable tissue, use hand sanitizer, or wash your hands afterwards.
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.