Health department says flu season could be more severe this year

Published 2:27 pm Thursday, October 14, 2021

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that last year’s flu season was unusually quiet, but experts are concerned that the 2021-22 season will be more active.

“While that was a wonderful, wonderful thing that we saw such low levels of transmission last year, that could result in an earlier and possibly more severe flu season this year because that population had such a reduced level of immunity last year,” said Becky Kissick, the Clark County Health Department’s public health director.

She added that the best way to reduce the impact of illness is to get a flu shot early in the season, which typically lasts from October to May.

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“We always like to remind people that the earlier you get the flu shot, the earlier, the sooner your body can begin to develop those antibodies that will then fight off the infection,” Kissick said.

Flu shots do not give a 100-percent guarantee of not getting sick, but they help the body mitigate the effects of the virus. The shot is now available at local health care providers, including the health department.

“The Clark County Health Department is happy to do that. We can bring you in at the clinic from Monday to Friday,” Kissick said.

The public will have a drive-thru option next week.

“Next Tuesday, on the 19th, will be doing a large community-wide kind of drive-thru flu vaccination clinic in conjunction with Legacy Grove Park.”

The clinic will last from 2 to 7 p.m., and the shots will be given free of charge to anyone over 9-years-old. Other ways to prevent the spread of the flu are the same ones public health officials have implored the public to use to stop the COVID-19 virus.

“Being very, very mindful of the surfaces you are touching, and cleaning and sanitizing protocols,” Kissick said. “Really great hand hygiene, we’ve known that’s a basic strategy, but it is an incredibly efficient one.”

Masking is the newest strategy used to mitigate the flu.

“The flu is similar in the transmission of a COVID in that it is a respiratory droplet,” Kissick said. “When we start thinking about the mask, of course, that mask is going to protect and prevent the spread of those respiratory droplets.”

Kissick advised that if a person wears a surgical mask, dispose of it after wearing it once, and if one wears a cloth mask too frequently launder it.

To make an appointment to get a flu shot at the health department, call 859-744-4482.