We are in the midst of flu season in Kansas City and the nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there have been 24 million illnesses nationwide, with 260,000 hospitalizations and 16,000 deaths from the flu.
The best way to fight the spread of the flu is by taking the influenza vaccination, say experts nationally and at Swope Health, where flu vaccinations are available at all clinic locations.
“We encourage everyone from 6 months old and up to get the annual flu vaccine,” said Dr. Naiomi Jamal, Chief Health Officer at Swope Health. “Vaccination can help prevent the infection and it can also lessen the impact of the illness if you do get sick. Most importantly, it can help prevent the infection from spreading throughout the community.”
The flu is a respiratory illness that spreads easily. The influenza virus infects the nose, throat, and lungs, and it can be spread when infected people cough, sneeze, or speak in close contact with others.
The flu can cause serious complications in people with certain chronic health conditions. Those with asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease, as well as those older than age 65 are at higher risk of developing complications from the flu.
For people in those categories, Dr. Jamal said, it is especially important to decrease your risk of severe illness by getting vaccinated.
“A flu shot is one safe and simple step you can take to protect yourself, your family and your community,” said Dr. Jamal.
Other steps to prevent the spread of the flu
The CDC recommends avoiding close contact with people who are sick and maintaining the habit of frequently washing your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
These precautions sound familiar, as they are also recommended to prevent to the spread of COVID-19, which is still circulating across the nation.
To take action, call Swope Health at 816-923-5800 to make an appointment for a flu vaccine. You can also make an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination or booster.