Seasonal changes bring seasonal illnesses that quickly spread. Now that the weather is changing, it's time to prepare for the months when common colds and flu are on the rise, along with symptoms that can be difficult to self-diagnose.
That's why each year, Lourdes Flu Clinics help make getting prepared for flu season easier. The flu clinics are located in the lobby of Lourdes Vestal Health Center in Vestal, New York, and Lourdes Pavilion in Johnson City, New York, and are open Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. No appointment is needed, so you can stop by the clinic to receive your flu shot or schedule it if you prefer.
"You can just walk in and ask for a flu shot, the care team will take your information, then give you the shot, and you'll be good for the year," said Gregory Stonier, MD, family medicine doctor at Lourdes Primary Care Vestal.
Dr. Stonier, who cares for patients of all ages, says that getting the flu shot is the best treatment for preventing the illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone six months and older get a flu vaccine. People 65 years and older and adults with chronic health conditions are at a higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu than young, healthy adults.
Getting the flu shot today will help cover you during the winter months when the spread of the flu will likely be at its highest. Here are four steps to help protect yourself, your friends and your family during flu season.
1. Hand hygiene cuts down the spread of flu
Washing your hands with soap and using hand sanitizer regularly is important to staying healthy during flu season. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
2. Keep hands away from your face
Touching our faces, including the eyes, nose and mouth can transmit the flu quickly, especially if your hands are not clean. Avoid using your hands when sneezing or coughing. Instead, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
3. Consider wearing masks or face coverings again
As the flu becomes more common this fall and winter, it is important to consider masking again, whether that's out in the community or when you go to your doctor's office, to help prevent the spread.
4. Talk to a doctor when you are experiencing flu symptoms
The flu, COVID-19, a cold or even allergies can have similar symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue or runny nose. When unsure about your symptoms, talk with a doctor to find the best treatment. If it is the flu, you may be a candidate for an antiviral drug to help reduce the length of symptoms and severity of the disease.
Schedule your flu shot or an appointment to talk to a doctor about your flu symptoms.