The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department in recent weeks has stressed the added importance of getting a flu shot this year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Much like the coronavirus, influenza’s symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. That likely will make it difficult to tell whether a person has COVID-19 or the flu without a test, and an active flu season would put even more strain on Lincoln’s already busy health care system.
Department officials said there hadn’t been any flu cases reported in Lancaster County as of Friday, but it is best to get a flu shot before Halloween. It takes up to two weeks to develop full immunity to the flu after being vaccinated.
Health Department Director Pat Lopez said Friday that residents also can protect themselves from both the flu and COVID-19 by wearing masks in public.
“We’ve been watching what’s happening in other countries that are in their winter season now, and what we’re seeing in those countries where they’ve had the mask-wearing and the hand-washing, their influenza rates are down,” Lopez said.
She said the department’s vaccine committee is also monitoring several private practices to try to pick up on any trends or information about the coming flu season.