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Get a flu shot now, health officials urge

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The flu season is just around the corner. This is a concern for Montana healthcare professionals, especially in the midst of a global COVID-19 pandemic. They say Montanans need to act proactively to avoid getting the flu.

The Montana Department of Health will begin monitoring influenza cases on October 1.

No cases of influenza have been reported in Montana this season, according to Stacy Anderson, a leading infectious disease epidemic at the agency.

“Still. That’s good.”

But she says it’s only a matter of time.

The flu season in Montana usually increases in November.

Anderson states that it is unclear how COVID-19 precautions such as wearing masks and social distance will affect them. It could be the flu season this year. But according to Anderson, there is one thing for sure. That is, flu shots can help prevent flu infections.

“According to science, flu shots are effective. Even if you get the flu during the flu season, flu shots can help prevent complications and prevent hospitalization for the flu.”

And she says the fewer flu patients in a Montana hospital during a pandemic, the better. Some hospitals in the state are short of bed space and staff for inpatients due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Anderson urges unvaccinated Montanan to be vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible.

In addition to flu shots, health officials will stay home if you are sick, keep sick children away from school instruction days, wash their hands frequently, and frequently clean the surface around you. Disinfect, cover the cough with your elbows and say use and throw away the tissues and them.

Forty-one Montanans died of the flu last fall and winter, according to the State Department of Health.

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