GRAVETTE — Concerns are rising as covid-19 overlaps with the annual flu season. Ozarks Community Hospital recommends that community members should receive their flu shots in order to lessen their chances of catching the flu or both viruses at the same time.
“There is great concern that these two infections, both respiratory in nature, will easily spread and break out at the same time. There is also concern that individuals who test positive for one may be more susceptible to contracting the other,” says Scott Taylor, OCH administrator. He goes on to explain, “The flu can be extremely taxing to individuals and healthcare systems, but in combination with a second surge of covid-19, the risk is much greater.”
In OCH’s online campaign, “Don’t Wait, Vaccinate,” it is recommended that everyone six months and older receive an annual flu shot. The flu shot is a safe, effective way to reduce your chance of missing work or ending up in the hospital due to severe flu symptoms. Unfortunately, because some of the symptoms of flu and covid-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
Flu vaccines have been shown to prevent flu illness and reduce the risk of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the CDC. Controlling the flu’s impact is important this year, as Northwest Arkansas has already seen a spike in hospitalizations due to covid-19.
“Now more than ever, getting your flu vaccine is one of the most important and proactive steps you can take to protect yourself, the people you love and those around you. Even if you usually skip your flu shot, this is the year to get vaccinated. It’s important to do your part in slowing the spread of both viruses, and the easiest way to do that is to wear a mask, wash your hands, and get your flu shot,” Kenda Clopton, director of nursing, explains.
OCH staff recommends calling the Gravette clinic at 479-787-5221 to schedule your flu shot today. If you develop covid symptoms, the drive-up covid-19 testing site is open by appointment. Please call 479-344-6353 if you are showing symptoms.
Ozarks Community Hospital is a tri-state safety net healthcare provider headquartered in Gravette, serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Ozarks. The hospital is located in Gravette and includes a multitude of clinics located in Southwest Missouri, Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma. OCH locations can accept Medicaid, Medicare, UHC Military and most other insurances. For more information, visit www.OCHonline.com.