Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, another layer of public health concern will be added with the arrival of flu season.
To help members of the community obtain their important annual flu shot while maintaining social distancing and protecting everyone from exposure to COVID-19, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is offering drive-thru public clinics this year.
The North Haven clinic will take place Wednesday, Oct. 14 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Joyce Budrow Senior Center, 189 Pool Road. Pre-registration is required at vnacommunityhealthcare.org/flu.
Influenza is a serious lung disease caused by a virus, which spreads from person to person. Symptoms include fever, cough, chills, muscle aches, headache and sore throat.
Although many are only sick for a few days, thousands die each year. Most deaths are in people over age 50 and the flu is particularly dangerous for young children. Serious complications, such as pneumonia can lead to hospitalization.
Although the flu vaccine does not prevent the flu in all cases, it significantly lessens the impact the virus has on the body and reduces the severity of symptoms a person experiences.
“The best thing you can do to protect yourself and the people around is to get your flu shot,” said VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice Health Promotion Supervisor Tracy Blanford. “It is a safe, effective way to reduce your risk of getting the flu and to help you recover more quickly if you do get sick. Particularly during this time when the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 persists, we encourage everyone to be vaccinated against the flu so their immune systems are armed against these potentially very serious viruses.”
Everyone over six months of age should get the flu shot, particularly those with a chronic condition and caregivers of those at high-risk.
The vaccine is developed yearly based on the strains expected to be most prevalent. The vaccine takes one to two weeks to take effect, but will protect you for several months.
The vaccine cannot cause the flu, but it will not prevent other illnesses you may contract around the time of receiving the vaccine or against the flu if you are infected within the two-week window before the vaccine takes effect. The vaccine can cause some side effects – including temporary fever or aches – though most people have no reaction at all.