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Ingham County Health Department urges residents to take steps to prevent the flu

LANSING, Mich. – Preventing the flu starts with you. That’s the message the Ingham County Health Department wants to spread during the 2020-21 flu season.

Every flu season is different, especially this one due to demands on the healthcare system from COVID-19. Last year alone, an estimated 35.5 million people were sick with the flu in the U.S., with 16.5 million going to the doctor, 490,600 hospitalizations and 34,200 deaths.

Ingham County Health Department’s public health campaign, “Preventing the Flu Starts with You,” emphasizes that each one of us can take precautions by getting a flu shot, washing our hands and social distancing.

“Hospitals and healthcare workers are almost at capacity with COVID-19 patients,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “We need to do everything we can to lessen the spread of the flu and prevent flu-related hospitalizations so as not to overwhelm the region’s healthcare system.”

The flu vaccine is proven to decrease the chance of becoming infected with the virus and decrease the severity of symptoms if infected. The vaccine can reduce the number of people with the flu having to go to the doctor by up to 60%. Along with good hand hygiene, wearing a mask and staying home when not feeling well, the flu shot can help mitigate the chances of getting and spreading the flu.

“Prevention really does start with each of us,” said Vail. “Taking a few simple steps will help protect you and our community.”

The flu vaccine is widely available at pharmacies, doctor’s offices and the health department. People who are uninsured or underinsured can receive the flu vaccine at no cost at the Ingham County Health Department. For a flu shot appointment, call (517) 887-4316. For more information, visit: http://www.hd.ingham.org/SeekingCare/Immunizations/SeasonalFlu.aspx

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