Catawba County Public Health is reminding local citizens that with cooler weather on the way, now is the time to get their annual flu shot. Typically, seasonal influenza, also known as the flu, begins circulating in higher numbers from October to May.
Although it is a common illness in the fall and winter months, the flu can cause serious health complications, including death. Last year, masking, distancing and other measures to prevent COVID-19 also helped prevent the spread of the flu and Catawba County experienced few cases. For many people, symptoms of both illnesses are similar and one could be mistaken for the other, or people could have both at the same time.
As in previous years, the best defense against the flu is vaccination, which is why Catawba County Public Health encourages individuals to visit their medical provider for a flu shot before flu season arrives in full force. This year, Public Health says it is especially important to get the flu shot, it could help the medical system avoid becoming overwhelmed with both COVID-19 and flu cases at the same time.
Although they are not 100% effective, flu vaccines are matched to best cover flu strains that scientists identify as the ones most likely to circulate in a given year and are effective at preventing most cases of the illness. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body for about two weeks after vaccination, and these antibodies provide protection during the flu season.
Flu shots are available at many physician offices and pharmacies throughout the community. For people who do not have a medical provider or who wish to obtain a shot at Public Health, appointments in their Immunization clinic can be made by calling (828) 695-5881. Flu shots are available for individuals age six-months-old and older.