The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) anticipates an increase in flu activity this year over last year. This is because low flu activity last year means less community protection this year, plus we don’t have the restrictions we had last year – kids are in school and businesses are open.
But there is still time to get vaccinated against the flu, and you can often get flu and COVID-19 vaccinations at the same time. Getting vaccinated against both is important, especially for people at higher risk of illness, such as children and pregnant people.
CDC recommendations for this flu season:
- Get a flu vaccine as soon as possible. There’s still time to protect yourself from the flu this season. A vaccination is the best tool for preventing the flu and can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death associated with flu.
- Take everyday preventive actions that can help reduce the spread of germs, including flu.
- Stay home when sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands often.
- Although the CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask to protect you from getting flu, wearing a face mask is recommended to protect you and others against COVID-19 at this time.
- If you develop flu symptoms (which can be similar to those of other respiratory viruses), contact your healthcare provider who may advise testing to determine whether your sickness is due to flu or another virus that has similar symptoms, such as COVID-19.
- Take antiviral drugs for flu if prescribed by your healthcare provider.
- Drugs to treat the flu are recommended for some people at high risk for complications of flu, such as anyone over 65 years or under 5 years, pregnant people, or who have underlying health conditions such as chronic heart or lung disease. A fact sheet for patients is available here.
- Antiviral drugs are not meant to replace the flu vaccine. A flu vaccine is the best way to help prevent seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications. Antiviral drugs are a second line of defense that can be used to treat flu if you do get sick.
- Flu antiviral drugs work best when started within two days of a person getting sick.
- CDC recommends that people who are very sick or at higher risk of developing serious flu complications get antiviral treatment as early as possible — without waiting for test results.
For Frequently Asked Questions about this year’s flu season, go to the CDC website.
For the latest on Oregon’s flu season, go to OHA’s Flu Bites webpage.