Do not delay in getting vaccinated against the influenza virus.

The previous flu season was mild due to face coverings and social distancing measures in 2020 related to COVID-19. With social events now back on, and the lack of face-covering mandates, the 2021-2022 flu season could pan out much differently. Are you and your family ready?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is recommended that everyone six months and older get vaccinated by the end of October each year. Timing is suggested to help your body build immunity before the upward swing in flu cases during the current season.

Research and statistics have shown that coronavirus is more lethal than the flu, causing the death of more than 205,000 Americans, including 15,831 Texans. The CDC estimates that there were upwards of 62,000 flu deaths in the 2019-2020 flu season.

This year, flu vaccines in the U.S. are quadrivalent (four-component), meaning they are designed to protect against the four flu viruses that research indicates are most likely to spread and cause illness among people during the upcoming flu season.

According to health officials, it is possible to become sick with both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. Both viruses are contagious respiratory illnesses, but different types of viruses cause them.

COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus, and seasonal flu is caused by infection with many influenza viruses that spread annually among people.

It is possible to have flu and other respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 at the same time. Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone.

Unlike the flu, COVID-19 can cause loss of sense of taste or smell. However, other symptoms of the two illnesses can be similar. Symptoms can include fever, chills, coughing, and muscle and body aches. Diagnostic testing is needed to determine which type of virus you have.

Although it is still possible for someone who has received a flu shot from contracting the virus, symptoms in such cases are typically less severe than they are for someone who has not been vaccinated.

Wearing masks and physical distancing can help protect you and others from respiratory viruses like flu and COVID-19. However, the best way to reduce your risk of flu illness and its potentially serious complications is to get a flu vaccine each year for everyone six months and older.

For more information about vaccines and scheduling an appointment to get vaccinated, please call the Faith Community Rural Health Clinic in Jacksboro (940-567-5528), Bowie (940-872-1121), Alvord (940-427-2858), and Graham (940-282-2512).