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Learn the essentials of flu prevention and the importance of vaccination to protect at-risk individuals. Stay informed, proactive and safe this flu season with key insights and resources.

Whether you belong to a vulnerable population, such as older adults or those with underlying health conditions, or care for people who are medically fragile, it’s important to know about influenza. 

Commonly referred to as “the flu,” influenza can pose a serious health risk with potentially deadly consequences. As we prepare for the 2023 flu season, here are 10 things to know: 

  1. The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 killed more people than World War I and World War II combined. Recognizing the severity of the flu’s impact can highlight the importance of staying vigilant and taking recommended preventive measures. 
  2. Flu-related hospitalizations range between 140,000 and 710,000, while flu-related deaths range from 12,000 to 56,000 yearly.
  3. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Antibiotics are not appropriate for treatment and can lead to antibiotic resistance. If you suspect you have influenza, consult health care professionals for appropriate flu treatments. 
  4. Flu viruses can survive up to 24 hours outside of the body, which can lead to indirect transmission. Regularly disinfect high-use touch points, especially during flu season, to minimize the risk. 
  5. People can spread the virus for up to 48 hours before they show signs of having the flu. Practice good hygiene, wash hands frequently, and avoid close contact if you suspect you’ve been exposed. 
  6. Flu can cause serious complications such as pneumonia, sinus infections, ear infections and more. It’s important to monitor symptoms closely and seek medical care if they worsen. 
  7. Signs and symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue. If you have the flu, prioritize your health and others’ safety by staying home. 
  8. Even healthy people can get very sick and spread the flu to others. Consider yourself a potential carrier, practice preventive measures, and encourage those around you to do the same. 
  9. The flu virus can change, so the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated every year. Be sure to schedule your annual flu vaccine to ensure you’re protected against the most recent strains. 
  10. Community engagement and public awareness play a crucial role in combating the spread of influenza. Stay informed, share accurate information, and support initiatives aimed at flu prevention and care. 

To safeguard against respiratory diseases such as influenza, COVID-19 and RSV, it’s important to get vaccinated. To find where you can receive your vaccine, contact your health insurance provider, health care provider, local county public health clinic, or a federally qualified health center.  

You can also locate a nearby clinic by entering your ZIP code at vaccinefinder.org. Get more information by dialing 211 or visiting 211info.org. 

Together, we can protect our communities and reduce the impact of this pervasive illness. 

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Asante Walk for Hope

Celebrate with cancer survivors at this year’s Walk for Hope, scheduled for Oct. 5 at the Heimann Cancer Center in Medford. Register to walk or volunteer by Sept. 20 to receive a free T-shirt.