June 5, 2023

Health Department Recommends Flu Shots


The St. Mary’s County Health Department recommends flu vaccinations for community members over the age of 6 months. Annual vaccination in September or October provides optimal protection throughout the flu season.

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and those around you from getting the flu. Flu vaccine is safe, effective, and readily available in the community, health officials said. Call your health care provider or pharmacy for more information. For more information about the flu, including prevention tips and key differences from COVID-19, please visit here.

Seasonal Influenza

Influenza 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. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season, especially those at high risk of flu complications, such as young children, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions.

Prevent the Flu

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits can also help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.

Health Habits to Protect Yourself & Others:

  • Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  • Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.
  • Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Tips on hand washing and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Flu Symptoms

The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills (not everyone with flu will have a fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea – this is more common in children than adults

Most people who get the flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people may develop complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections as a result of the flu. Some of these complications can be life-threatening.

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