Unfortunately, the flu is a common illness this time of year. Both the flu and Covid-19 may be more severe in the elderly and those with underlying conditions, but the flu also affects children particularly hard, and is easily spread in schools.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle or body aches, feeling tired, cough, sore throat, and a runny or stuffy nose. While some symptoms mimic the common cold, it is different from a cold. In most cases, the flu causes mild to moderate illness, but it can lead to severe illness, and complications can lead to death.
People with the flu can spread the virus before, during, and after they are sick. Flu is spread mainly by droplets made when people who have the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Viruses can also spread on surfaces, but this is less common.
The flu generally peaks in Missouri from December through February. Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. Because it takes about two weeks before antibodies build up in your system to protect you from the flu, it is important to receive your vaccine prior to flu season (October-May). Do not wait to get immunized against the flu!
Citizens have many options to obtain a flu vaccination. Many physician offices, pharmacies, and health departments offer the flu vaccine, and many insurance companies pay for the injection. The Joplin City Health Department, 321 E. 4th St., carries influenza vaccine for the uninsured, Medicaid, and many insurances. City residents may call 417-623-6122 to see if they qualify through their insurance and can then schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine.