MADISON COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - Fall has arrived, and as people bring out their sweaters, pumpkin spice and scarves, medical experts in the area remind us to be prepared for cold and flu season. Flu shots are already available in many locations around the region.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends getting your flu shot as soon as possible. "People ages 6 months and older get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Even if you wait until after October, the vaccine will still be beneficial and provide protection."
Nikki Sayer a Registered Nurse at Eastern Idaho Public Health says getting vaccinated is the best thing you can do to protect yourself as cold and flu season approaches.
"To protect yourself, your family, friends, and your community, is by getting an annual influenza vaccine. Those vaccines are available for everybody. Six months and older, as advised by the advisory committee on immunization practices," Sayer said.
Journee, an emergency room nurse at Madison Health Hospital in Rexburg, shared why she felt she needed to get vaccinated.
"I think it's important just to protect patients, make sure that they stay healthy because I come into contact with them and then also my family at home because we can bring things home easily. so I just want to keep everybody safe and healthy," she said.
Getting vaccinated isn't the only way you can protect yourself from getting sick.
"Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands, wash surfaces in your home. Keep your home clean, wash your phone, and wash the doorknobs. At my house. I just use rubbing alcohol, put it on a dishrag, and then start washing down surfaces. Doorknobs, phones, countertops. Don't share the glasses with all family members. And if you're sick, stay home. Don't go to school. Don't go to church. Don't go out. Don't go shopping. Stay home," said Touna Eagan, a Registered Nurse who has been helping to heal people for nearly 30 years.
But no matter how prepared we are and how well we defend ourselves from getting sick, illness may still strike, and Madison County residents were no exception.
"Last year, about 10% of our population had to be admitted with influenza, and that was in December.... it seems to hit the younger population, the patients that are immunosuppressed, that are sick anyway, or that have co-morbidities that are smokers and then the older population, it really seems to hit them hard," Eagan said.
Cold and flu season isn't the only thing you have to worry about. COVID-19 numbers are once again on the rise. Eastern Idaho Public Health is Still Keeping tabs on cases but not to the extreme as they were during the pandemic.
"We are still looking at trends in hospitalizations, our visits, deaths, long long-term care facilities. We're still tracking that for the state of Idaho, but not like it used to be," Sayer said.
"We've seen a few cases of COVID this year, but it seems to be more flu-like, it doesn't seem to be the horrible things that we were seeing in September of 2020," Eagan said.
To see where you can go to get your flu shot you can go here.