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The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is reminding Texas County residents to get a flu vaccine.

Although overall flu activity remains low, positive cases in Missouri are picking up. Flu vaccination is particularly important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, including children age 5 and under, adults older than 65, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

“We know flu season typically peaks in the month of February, so there’s still time to benefit from vaccination,” said Donald Kauerauf, DHSS director. “Although last winter’s flu season was very low in activity, it’s important to remember that our immunity from the flu decreases over time. That means many people may have reduced immunity to flu this season and it is incredibly important this year for you and your family to take the step to get vaccinated for the flu.”

Flu viruses are constantly changing and protection from vaccination decreases over time, so getting a flu vaccine every year is the best way to prevent flu. ​As Missourians celebrate this holiday season, DHSS and other public health experts are concerned about the potential for reduced immunity in people who are already at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, especially those with the chronic health conditions. In past flu seasons, 9 out of 10 adults hospitalized for flu had at least one underlying medical condition.

Flu can be very serious. Nearly every year in the United States, millions of people get the flu, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands die from flu-related illnesses. The most common symptoms of flu are fever, cough and sore throat. Symptoms can also include body aches, headaches, chills, runny nose and fatigue.

Nationally and in Missouri, flu activity during the 2020-2021 season was very low, likely because of COVID-19 prevention measures. In the first eight weeks of surveillance for the 2021-2022 flu season, Missouri has reported 853 positive influenza cases (597 influenza A, 242 influenza B, and 14 untyped) and one death using data collected through Nov. 27, 2021. Missouri’s flu trends remain consistent with what is being reported nationally: influenza activity remains low, with a slight increase in the number of cases reported compared to previous weeks. To see Missouri’s weekly influenza reports, see here: https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/influenza/reports.php

A COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine can be given at the same time, the state health department said. Contact your healthcare provider, or find a location near you for either vaccine at Vaccines.gov. For more information regarding flu in Missouri, visit MOStopsFlu.com.

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