DHHS recommends getting flu shot before month's end

Nebraska City News-Press

With COVID-19 continuing to spread in Nebraska, getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family's health this season. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommends doing so before the end of October.

“This season, flu vaccine is more important than ever," said Dr. Tom Safranek, Special Assistant to the CEO. “Getting a flu shot now helps protect against the flu and also preserves hospital capacity during the pandemic. Protect yourself and others by getting your flu vaccine."  

Flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu, which can make any of us sick and can be a life-threatening illness for some people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older every year.

Certain people are at greater risk for serious complications, and it's extremely important they receive a flu vaccine:         

Young children

Adults 65 years of age or older

Pregnant women

People with chronic lung disease (like asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions and certain other long-term health conditions

Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

It is also important for caregivers and health care workers to protect themselves and those around them from flu by getting a flu vaccine.

You can safely get a flu vaccine at multiple locations across Nebraska. Vaccinefinder.org is also a resource for finding flu vaccine near you. Vaccination can reduce flu-related illnesses, visits to the doctor, missed work and school and flu-related hospitalizations. Flu vaccine is safe, effective and rigorously tested. The most common reaction people may experience from a flu shot is soreness and redness at the injection site. After vaccination, it takes about two weeks for the body to build immunity.

In addition to vaccination, prevention measures Nebraskans are already taking for COVID-19 will also help protect against the flu, which is also a respiratory illness:

Wash hands often

Watch your distance (staying at least 6 feet away from people outside your household)

Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth

Avoid contact with people who are sick

Stay home from school, work, family gatherings and social functions if you're sick

Cover your mouth and nose when you cough with a tissue or sleeve, not your hands

DHHS starts its statewide flu surveillance for the season in October. The Department uses multiple surveillance systems to track flu viruses, including physicians who report the number of people with flu-like illness weekly, lab tests, school surveillance, hospital data, emergency department data and death reporting. Flu surveillance shows where the flu is and how fast it's spreading across Nebraska.

For more flu information, visit the DHHS website at www.dhhs.ne.gov/flu or the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/flu .