Did you know it is not too late to get a flu vaccine? Getting a flu vaccine to protect yourself, your family, and your community is so important, especially this year. Our healthcare systems are being overloaded with COVID-19 patients. By getting a flu vaccine, you are helping reduce the burden on our healthcare systems.
Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health website for locations you can get your flu shot.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and, at times, can lead to death. The flu usually comes on suddenly and may include these symptoms:
- Tiredness (can be extreme)
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
- Body aches
Stay Healthy this Flu Season
To prevent the spread of germs during the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season, you should wash your hands before and after:
- Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Touching your mask
- Eating or cooking
- Entering and leaving any public place
- Touching an item, animal, or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens
Learn more from the Ready PA Tip Sheet.
COVID-19 and Flu Remain a Threat to Our Communities
Regular hand washing is one of the most important steps you can take to get rid of the germs and keep them from spreading to ultimately protect ourselves and others from getting sick or dying.
“Regular handwashing can truly save lives,” Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Whether you are at home, at work, or out in the community, you should wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or the time it takes to sing ‘happy birthday’ twice, so you can protect yourself and your family. As a pediatrician, I echo the importance of teaching children to wash their hands early and often to ensure they do not run the risk of getting sick or spreading germs to others.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible. If soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.
When washing, lather soap on your hands, rub your hands together, get the soap between your fingers, and clean underneath your nails to ensure you reach any germs that may be hiding.
To learn more about the flu, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health's website.
COVID-19 and the Flu
The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but different viruses cause them. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2), and the flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.
Because some of the symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
Key Differences Between COVID-19 and the Flu
The flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.
COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms, and people can be contagious for longer.
Another important difference is there is a vaccine to protect against flu. While vaccines are currently going through approval processes, there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in the U.S. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. To learn more about the flu and COVID-19, visit the Similarities and Differences between Flu and COVID-19.
The CDC has a wide variety of resources available about both COVID-19 and the flu.