Officials urge residents to get flu shot this season

OTTAWA – Every season the flu sickens millions of people in the U.S., hospitalizes hundreds of thousands, and kills tens of thousands. This season, in addition to flu, the area continues to battle COVID-19. The LaSalle County Health Department has received its first shipment of flu vaccine and will begin hosting flu clinics. Everyone six months of age and older is recommended to get the seasonal flu vaccine. Many of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are the same, but there are some differences. Flu usually comes on more suddenly, a person with COVID-19 can be contagious for a longer period of time compared to flu, and COVID-19 seems to cause more severe illnesses in some people overall. If you have symptoms of either flu or COVID-19, self-isolate and contact a health care provider who can talk with you about testing and other measures you should be taking.

Seasonal Influenza Vaccine and Influenza HD (High Dose) Vaccine for persons 65 and older will be available at clinics beginning this week. All LaSalle County Health Department influenza vaccines are preservative free. The fee for the seasonal flu shot will be $25. The fee for influenza High Dose will be $60. The department offers insurance billing or cash only payment. Debit or credit cards will not be accepted. You must have your insurance card and a Photo ID with you. No Doctor’s order is required. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The clinic schedule will be as follows:

Thursday, September 30, 2021 9:00 am – 3:00pm LaSalle County Health Department (Vaccination trailer in the Parking Lot) Flu and COVID Shots Available

Tuesday, October 5, 2021 1:00 pm – 3:00pm LaSalle County Health Department
(Vaccination trailer in the Parking Lot) Flu and COVID Shots Available

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 9:00 am – 1:00pm Mendota Area Senior Services
1901 Tom Merwin Dr, Mendota (Located inside the Mendota Civic Center) Flu Shots Only

Thursday, October 21, 2021 9:00 am – 1:00pm Oglesby Elks Lodge 800 E Walnut St, Oglesby Flu Shots Only

If you are unable to make one of our upcoming flu clinics, please call the Health Department at 815-433-3366 to schedule an appointment.

Because of the effectiveness of masking in preventing virus transmission, we saw fewer flu-related ICU hospital admissions in Illinois and no flu-related pediatric deaths,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “However, with inconsistent mask usage, we could see a more severe flu season along with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now is the time to get your flu shot. Flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time if you haven’t already gotten your COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are our best protection against severe illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths due to either flu or COVID-19.”

All flu vaccines this season are quadrivalent, meaning they will offer protection against four flu strains – an H1N1-like strain, H3N2-like strain, and two B strains.

Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

• Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
• Cough
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Fatigue (tiredness)
• Sore throat
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Muscle pain or body aches
• Headache
• Vomiting and diarrhea
• Change in or loss of taste or smell, although this is more frequent with COVID-19.

In addition to getting your flu and COVID-19 vaccine, IDPH recommends staying home when sick, wearing a mask, and frequently washing your hands. These everyday health practices will help protect against becoming infected with either flu or COVID-19 viruses.