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Flu season is here and now is the time to take preventive measures. With COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases also being reported, a flu vaccine is critically important this season to keep you and your loved ones healthy. 

“We expect a robust flu season,” said Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, Catholic Health Vice President and Chief Public and Community Health Officer. “It’s already started.”

 

Did you get your flu vaccine?

Dr. Eisenstein notes that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of transmitting the virus before symptoms start. “It’s not a good time to become tired of vaccines," he said. "They’re still lifesaving and vital."

The flu vaccine:

  • Prevents or limits chance of illness
  • Reduces medical visits or hospitalizations 
  • Prevents health complications or death
  • Combats constantly changing viruses

 

Who can get the flu vaccine?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the flu vaccine for everyone six months and older.

Learn more about the recommendations by age and the few exceptions.
 

 

Where can I get a flu vaccine?

You can contact your primary care physician (PCP). If you do not have a PCP,  call 866-MY-LI-DOC (866-695-4362) to find a Catholic Health physician near you.

Vaccines are also available at your local pharmacy and at community clinics. Find a flu vaccine near you.

 

What is the difference between the flu and COVID-19?

According to the CDC: 

  • The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by infection with a flu virus (influenza viruses). 
  • COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory illness caused by infection with a coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) first identified in 2019. 
  • The flu and COVID-19 have some of the same signs and symptoms. A medical professional will test you to provide a diagnosis and recommended treatment plan.

Learn more about the differences between the flu and COVID-19.

 

What is RSV?

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a respiratory virus that is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (wheezing) and pneumonia in children under one year of age in the United States. RSV infections usually occur during the fall and winter seasons as well as the flu season.

Get answers to commonly asked questions about RSV from Dr. Howard Balbi, Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Associate Chairman of Pediatrics at Good Samaritan University Hospital.

 

What are common symptoms of the flu?

The flu typically comes on suddenly and has more severe symptoms than the common cold. 

Symptoms may include:  

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

Call your physician if you think you are showing symptoms, especially if at higher risk of flu complications. Those at higher risk include adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant people, young children, and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

 

Can I prevent the flu?

In addition to the flu vaccine, you can take additional measures to prevent the spread of germs including:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid direct contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that could be contaminated.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

 

Can you treat the flu?

Yes. Your physician will give you the best guidance for the right treatment based on factors like your symptoms, age and pre-existing conditions. 

 

If you are feeling sick, or are taking care of someone who is feeling sick, call your physician today. 

Call 866-MY-LI-DOC (866-695-4362) to find a Catholic Health physician near you.

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