Flu season is underway, meaning it is time to start thinking about getting vaccinated. To help reduce flu-related illness and hospitalizations in Nevada. SilverSummit Healthplan is sharing flu prevention tips and promoting healthy behaviors, including immunization and good hygiene, as part of its Fluvention® campaign.
According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, there were 1,641 influenza-related hospitalizations, with 61 deaths reported. During the 2019-2020 flu season, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that the flu vaccine reduced the risk of illness by between 40 and 60 percent among the overall population. That’s why SilverSummit’s chief medical director, Dr. Jeffrey Murawsky, encourages everyone 6 months of age and older to schedule their flu vaccine as soon as possible. Typically, people should plan to receive a flu vaccine by the end of October, but there’s still value in getting a vaccination later in the season such as December or January, as flu season can extend into March or April.
This flu season also looks different amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, so it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. While there are shared preventative measures that can help protect against both illnesses, there are also unique considerations for avoiding the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Murawsky is available for interviews upon request. He has been involved in the medical field for 20 years and has a unique perspective on flu prevention activities in Nevada. He is also part of SilverSummit’s Fluvention® initiative program, a flu prevention program that was recently recognized with the Health Information Award and includes local activities across Nevada that help communities get vaccinated to protect against the virus each flu season.
Stay healthy this flu season
The CDC says the flu vaccine reduces risk by 40-60 percent on average, yet 33.9 percent of adult Nevada Residents received a flu vaccine in the 2018-2019 season. Everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. The CDC notes the following groups are at higher risk for complications:
o Pregnant women
o Children younger than age 5, but especially children younger than age 2
o People 65 years of age and older
o People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
Additional healthy habits to help prevent the flu and other illnesses include:
o Getting enough sleep
o Avoiding stress
o Eating a healthy diet
o Drinking plenty of fluids
o Avoiding contact with people who are sick
COVID-19 during flu season
Below are a few key differences between COVID-19 and the seasonal flu:
· Some signs and symptoms of the virus that causes COVID-19, different from flu, may include change in or loss of taste or smell. If these symptoms persist, it is recommended for a person to reach out to their healthcare provider.
· Flu symptoms typically develop 1-4 days after infection, while COVID-19 symptoms can take 2-14 days to develop.
· Most people with flu are contagious for 1 day before they show symptoms. With COVID-19, it’s possible for someone to spread the virus for about 2 days before symptoms, and they remain contagious for at least 10 days after symptoms first appeared. COVID-19 may also be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
· There are multiple vaccines to protect against the flu virus, but as of October 2020 there is no vaccine for the virus that causes COVID-19.
About SilverSummit Healthplan
SilverSummit Healthplan is a managed care plan that delivers quality health insurance to the people of Nevada. Established in 2017, SilverSummit is committed to improving the health of its members through focused, compassionate, and coordinated care. SilverSummit’s active community evolvement reaches beyond physical and mental health. We are dedicated to improve the quality of life, one person at a time. SilverSummit Healthplan is a diversified healthcare organization that offers healthcare services through Nevada Medicaid, Medicare, and the Health Insurance Marketplace. For more information on SilverSummit, you may visit www.silversummithealthplan.com.