SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and Regional West Community Health, the flu has increased sharply across the state over the past couple of weeks.
While a cold gives you a runny nose and scratchy throat, the flu gives you fevers, muscle aches and fatigue. Regional West provides a shot that cannot cause the flu. Nurses work comfortably with those afraid of needles.
So far, more than 55,000 people nationwide have been hospitalized for treatment of the flu and 2,900 deaths have been reported including 27 children.
Many people confuse the cold and the flu.
A cold grows slowly while the flu comes suddenly.
While the cold gives you a runny nose and scratchy throat, the flu gives you a fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, chills, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.
Any child under the age of 18, especially five and younger, the elderly and those with health complications are at the highest risk.
Anyone six months and older are qualified for a flu shot.
“Some people think it’s too late but really, we are starting to see the peak of flu,” said Paulette Schnell, RN, MS, Community Health Director. “It takes about two weeks to get the flu shot’s full immunity but this flu season can last clear into spring so it’s not too late to get it.”
The flu shot they provide is not a live virus so when injected, it cannot cause the flu.
You may feel achiness or a reaction if it’s your first time getting the shot.
If you are afraid of needles, the team of nurses have practices to help you relax.
If you have the flu, stay home.
“If you feel like you are getting the flu or you know that you are sick, stay home,” said Schnell. “The flu is very contagious and by going out in the public or out and around, it is just adding to that being spread around.”
To prevent the flu, wash your hands frequently or use alcohol based sanitizers.
Make sure to cough into your elbow.
To set up a flu shot, you can schedule an appointment with the Regional West Community Health by calling 308-630-1126.