Flu can occur in any month, but transmission primarily occurs October through May
VANCOUVER – Flu season is approaching, and the virus that causes COVID-19 continues to circulate at high levels, putting a strain on local hospitals.
Clark County Public Health officials report flu activity was low last year because of flu vaccination, physical distancing, masking, school closures, business and event restrictions, and limited travel. But with many of the COVID-19 restrictions lifted this year, flu has a higher chance of spreading in the community.
“We can’t predict how severe this flu season will be,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director.
Flu can occur in any month, but transmission primarily occurs October through May. Young children, pregnant people, people 65 and older and people with asthma, diabetes, heart disease and long-term health conditions are at greatest risk of complications from flu.
While most people with flu do not need to seek medical care, flu symptoms can be severe. Common flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches and fatigue. People who have flu symptoms and are in a high-risk group, or who are worried about their illness, should contact their health care provider.
Many flu and COVID-19 symptoms are similar. Health care providers may recommend testing for both flu and COVID-19 while both viruses are circulating.
Flu vaccine is widely available at local medical offices and pharmacies. Call the Help Me Grow Washington hotline at (800) 322-2588 to find nearby flu vaccine locations.
In addition to immunization, everyday practices can reduce the chance of catching or spreading flu and COVID-19.
- Wear a cloth face covering when around people you don’t live with.
- Stay home when sick and limit contact with others.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Cough or sneeze into your arm or cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. Throw away the tissue and wash your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an alternative when soap and water aren’t available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Information provided by Clark Co. WA Communications.