Flu season is quickly approaching.
While influenza cases in Sedgwick County are considered low, with less than 1% of hospital visits being influenza related, experts are saying that the peak of flu season might be early this year, according to Bev Bruce, preventative health associate director with the Sedgwick County Health Department.
While the peak is usually seen in January, experts say that the peak of the flu season could be as early as November or December. In fact, Sedgwick County recorded its first reports of flu in early September, when they’re usually reported around October or November.
The flu vaccine is recommended for anyone six months and older. Looking at national data, 78% of flu cases were reported to be Influenza A and 22% were influenza B, Bruce said.
“All the viruses the CDC have type matched have matched the vaccine,” Bruce said.
If you’re planning on getting the flu shot ahead of the peak, now would be a good time to do so. Here’s what to know about the flu vaccine in Sedgwick County.
Where do I get the flu shot in Sedgwick County?
Bruce said the health department first recommends to contact your pharmacy doctor or your primary care physician for the flu shot. You can also use Vaccine.gov’s flu shot locator to see providers near you.
For those who are uninsured, the county’s health department provides shots for both children and adults. They also provide the shots to those with Medicaid, Aetna Better Health, UnitedHealthcare or Sunflower. Those who qualify can get their flu shot at the county’s main clinic, at 2716 W. Central.
While the flu shot reduces the risk of catching influenza, it is not 100% effective in preventing the virus. If you start to get symptoms of Influenza, it’s best to stay home when ill to prevent spreading it. Flu symptoms include, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Stuffy or runny nose
The best way to prevent the flu is to wash your hands and stay home when sick, Bruce said.
Can I get my COVID booster with the flu shot?
Yes. Anyone who wants to get the COVID booster can get it at the same appointment as the flu shot, Bruce said.
The new COVID booster was first approved in September and was made to target the most current strains of COVID-19.
You can call your pharmacy doctor or primary care physician to set up an appointment to receive the vaccine. You can also get it at Walgreens by visiting Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine, or book an online appointment at CVS.
Uninsured individuals or those with Medicaid/Kancare of CHIP can set up an appointment with the Sedgwick County Health Department by calling 316-660-7300.