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Thinking of skipping out on a flu shot this year? You might want to re-think that decision.

What is Influenza?

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness, and the severity of the illness differs depending on the person and strain. Influenza can cause severe symptoms. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it can result in hospitalization, and possibly even death.

When is Flu Season?

Flu activity starts around October. During the fall and winter months is when the bulk of the spread occurs. Peaks of the virus generally occur around December through February. Flu season can stretch into spring months.

What is a Flu Shot?

Health professionals say that flu shots are vaccines given to protect your immune system.

“Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are used to make the vaccine” according to the CDC.

Read more about the CDC’s recommendations about the flu here.

When can I get the flu shot?

Healthcare providers starting vaccinating people in September. The season starts earlier than previous years. Completion of the flu vaccines should take place by the end of October 2020.

Click here to read about when and why getting the vaccine is important.

However, those wishing to receive a vaccine are not limited by these dates. The vaccine should still be given past these dates when:

  • The virus is circulating locally.
  • The expiration date hasn’t been met.

A Deeper Look into Strains

There are two main types of the virus, Influenza A and Influenza B, which spread each year widely. However, other strains of the virus are active throughout the year as well.

Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the vaccines and what virus they work to prevent from the CDC.

Strains: 2020-2021, three component Egg-based vaccines

Per the CDC, the 2020-2021 three-component egg-based vaccines will work to constrain these influenza strains:

  • A/Guangdong-Maonan/SWL1536/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
  • A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
  • B/Washington/02/2019 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus (updated)
Strains: 2020-2021, four Component Egg-based vaccines

Per the CDC, the 2020-2021 four component egg-based vaccines will work to constrain these influenza strains:

  • Three recommended viruses above, plus B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus
Cell- or recombinant-based vaccines are recommended to contain:

Per the CDC, the 2020-2021 cell- or recombinant-based vaccines are working to constrain these flu strains:

  • A/Hawaii/70/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
  • A/Hong Kong/45/2019 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
  • B/Washington/02/2019 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus (updated)
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus

Can I have the Flu and COVID-19? 

According to the CDC, it is possible to have Influenza and COVID-19. Both illness are respiratory related. It is also possible to have other conditions as well. 

Symptoms that occur with the Flu are also common with COVID-19. Furthermore, research is still taking place to identify the correlation between the two.

There is no vaccine available for COVID-19 at this time. Talk to a healthcare professional if you suspect COVID-19 or Influenza.

COVID-19 Symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to Influenza. According to the Mayo Clinic these are symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breathe
  • Muscle Aches
  • Chills
  • Sore Throat
  • Chest Pain
  • Rash
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

More Information

To learn about COVID-19 testing in Racine, visit our Coronavirus tab. COVID-19 and Influenza are respiratory illnesses. The Racine County Eye regularly updates information on COVID-19.

To prepare yourself for the flu season and preventing COVID-19 follow these steps:

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash/sanitize hands
  • Quarantine/stay home when ill

Where can I get a Vaccine in Racine?

If you have a primary doctor, you can schedule an appointment to receive your influenza shot at their office.

Click here to find out where you can get a vaccine.

During this time, the Racine Health Department is closed. Wisconsin residents are eligible, by appointment only, to recieve vaccines at the Kenosha Health Department.

Who should get a flu vaccine and what type:

The CDC recommends that these individuals get the flu shot.

  • High dose injections are recommended for those 65 years and older
  • Adjuvant doses for those 65 years and older
  • Recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV) is for people aged 18 years and older
  • Pregnant women and people with certain chronic health conditions can get a flu shot.
    • Speak with a health care provider for information
  • Inactivated influenza vaccines (IIV) that are approved for people as young as 6 months of age.
  • Healthcare workers
  • Those in long-term care facilities/nursing homes

Who shouldn’t get a flu vaccine:

The CDC recommends that these individuals should not receive the influenza vaccine.

  • Children younger than 6 months of age are too young to get a flu shot.
  • People with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine. This might include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients.
  • People with egg allergies. View alternative information about nasal spray vaccine options by clicking here.
  • If you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralyzing illness, also called GBS). Some people with a history of GBS should not get a flu vaccine. Talk to your doctor about your GBS history.

Flu Symptoms

The onset of these symptoms according to the CDC can be sudden. Not all people will experience the flu symptoms the same. Read here about symptoms of the flu.

  • Fever or feeling feverish
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting (more common in adults)
  • Diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

Diagnosing the Flu

Per the CDC Diagnostic information, testing can help determine if someone has the flu. The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) recommends the following tests:

  • Rapid Influenza Molecular Assays
  • Antigen Detection tests

As flu season approaches more information will be distributed.


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