According to the CDC, “Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications.  There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus: Types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.

The best way to prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

Flu Shots

The CDC recommends annual influenza (flu) vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with a licensed, age appropriate vaccine. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are used to make the vaccine.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Most flu vaccines in the United States protect against four different flu viruses (“quadrivalent”); an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses. There are also some flu vaccines that protect against three different flu viruses (“trivalent”); an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and one influenza B virus. Two of the trivalent vaccines are designed specifically for people 65 and older to create a stronger immune response.

In addition to the standard flu vaccination, Star Valley Health provides a trivalent, inactivated standard dose flu shot (brand name FLUAD)  with an adjuvant that helps create a stronger immune response and is approved for those 65 and older.   Click here to read more about this vaccine on the CDC’s webpage.

Benefits of Receiving Flu Vaccine

Although getting a flu vaccination is not 100% effective, it is the best way to prevent the misery of the flu and complications.  Flu vaccines have been proven to reduce the risk of flu illness and decreases the severity of symptoms if flu is still contracted.  For certain people, such as older adults, pregnant women, children, and those with chronic conditions, getting the flu vaccine can reduce hospitalization and death due to the flu virus. In addition, when you protect yourself from the flu, you also protect others from catching the flu from you. If enough people get the vaccine, the flu is unable to spread rapidly through communities, resulting in a healthier community.

Flu Symptoms

Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Flu and COVID-19

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Because some of the symptoms of are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, so testing may be needed to confirm a diagnoses.

A person can be infected with both illnesses at the same time, so it is more important than ever to protect yourself from infection.  Wash your hands thoroughly and often, wear a protective mask in public places, practice physical distancing, and get your flu vaccination.  For more in-depth information on the flu and the affects of COVID-19 on the 2020-2021 Flu Season, please click here to go to the CDC website.

For more information on COVID-19, please use any of the following links.

Wyoming Specific  –  Wyoming Department of Health

United States Map   –  Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center