Extra emphasis on flu shots this season as COVID-19 pandemic rages on (Healthy You)

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Flu season is upon us which means health officials could be dealing with two infectious diseases at once.

Officials with United Regional Physician Group said now is more important than ever to get a flu shot.

Cough, congestion, fever, body and headaches are symptoms you might get with flu and with COVID-19.

A flu shot could help medical professionals narrow down what disease your body is trying to fight because there is no coronavirus vaccine

“It is very important this season especially to get the flu shot,” URPG Family Nurse Practitioner Blayne Berry said. “We have the vaccine and most of the time when you have the flu vaccine on board it does decrease your chances of getting the flu significantly.”

Berry said besides a flu shot, preventative measures such as washing your hands and wearing a mask protect those around you.

“There are those people around us that are high risk, especially the elderly, the very young, those with pre-existing conditions,” Berry said. “So what I encourage people to do is to practice these safe hygenic measures not only to protect the community as well.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues affecting most aspects of life, flu season is right on its tail and the challenge for health officials now is determining which one a patient might have.

“I do think it is appropriate to be tested for the flu even if you think you can ride it out at home,” Berry said. “One reason is because if we get a flu test and it comes back negative well then we know that there’s something else going on and we might need to test for COVID as well.”

To encourage getting a flu vaccination, while staying safe from other diseases like COVID-19, URPG is holding a series of drive-thru flu shot events.

“Patients just drive into the clinic, we’re going to have plenty of signage and staff to help them find the location,” URPG Director of Primary Care & Subspecialty Maria Avalos said. “They will stop to register to sign some consents, pull up a few feet, get their flu shot.”

Avalos added those planning to attend should bring the whole family.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, recommends that anyone over the age of six months receives a flu shot,” Avalos said. “So we’ll be providing flu shots for those that are six months and older.”

As for when to get a flu shot, Berry said the sooner the better.

“It takes about two weeks really to get the vaccination on board to actually help with your immunity to the flu, so if you can get it in quicker than normal then it just cuts down the chance of you contracting it and then possibly spreading it as well,” Berry said.

One quick flu shot just might be the only thing preventing medical professionals from dealing with two health crises at once.

United Regional Physician Group is hosting three drive-thru flu shot events.

  • Oct. 3: Barnett Road Medical Building, 4327 Barnett Road (8 a.m. to Noon)
  • Oct. 10: Burkburnett Clinic, 208 S. Red River Expy., Ste. D (8 a.m. to Noon)
  • Oct. 17: Barnett Road Medical Building, 4327 Barnett Road (8 a.m. to Noon)

Those with URPG ask that you bring your insurance card.

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