Now that flu season is officially here, the Kern County Public Health Services Department is encouraging everyone to get their annual flu vaccine.
“Flu season is upon us and now is the time to get vaccinated against seasonal flu. The flu is a contagious disease that can cause serious illness and getting an annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu,” the department said in a press release.
According to the California Department of Public Health website, it is likely that both the flu and COVID-19 viruses will circulate this fall and winter.
“We are therefore urging all Californians 6 months of age and older to get vaccinated against the flu now, even if they have already gotten a COVID-19 vaccine. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness. A bad case of the flu can result in hospitalization or even death,” stated the California Department of Public Health.
The California Department of Public Health also noted that flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce the severity of illness, including reducing the risk of flu-related hospitalization. Vaccination can also reduce the risk of potentially serious flu complications for people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.
Kern County Public Health will be partnering with the Kern County Fairgrounds Swap Meet to offer free flu shots on Sunday, October 16 from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.. No appointments are needed, and guests should enter through Ming Avenue at the Star Gate entrance.
Additionally, Kern County Public Health recommends everyone also take everyday preventative actions to reduce the spread of flu:
- Wash hands often
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
A CID study found that children are most likely to get sick from the flu and that people 65 and older are least likely to get sick from the flu. Flu symptoms can onset suddenly and those who contract the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- fever or feeling feverish/chills
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- muscle or body aches
- fatigue (tiredness)
- some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, most experts believe that flu viruses are spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby.
Less often, a person might get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
“Getting your annual flu shot is an easy action we can take to protect ourselves and our loved ones this flu season,” says Brynn Carrigan, Director of Kern County Public Health. “Our residents are also encouraged to focus on their overall health by eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables and getting plenty of exercise.”