CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) We are about to enter what some are calling “a dark winter”. It’s a combination of COVID-19 and all the other illnesses normally associated with winter like colds, flu, and strep.
When it comes to the flu adults 65 years of age and older, as well as those with underlying health concerns, can be at an increased risk for serious flu complications.
“This year with COVID it’s so important to get your influenza shot,” said Angie Settle with West Virginia Health Right. She said it is very important that people get vaccinated. “It is possible to get COVID and influenza at the same time. You want to be careful because it can weaken your immunity and then you are more apt to pick up COVID and vice versa. So it is so important.”
She said people should try to get vaccinated as soon as possible because it can take a couple of weeks to build up an immunity. Flu season typically peaks between December and February.
“Those that are at higher risk and have multiple disease disorders like diabetes, high blood pressure and lung disease, elderly and those who have COPD and those kinds of conditions are way more at risk,” she said.
According to the AARP people 50 and older need to take additional precautions to fight off the flu. Work on improving your sleep and keep the temperature in your bedroom cool. Carry your own pen when you go to the bank or to a restaurant to avoid touching a pen someone else has used. And get outside when you can and walk or get some other form of exercise.
Some other ways to stay healthy during flu season include:
*Sanitizing or washing your hands hourly when in public
*Avoiding buffet style eating even at family gatherings
*Asking your doctor about Vitamin D supplements
*Turning on a humidifier
But still getting vaccinated is the most important thing you can do. The vaccine is covered by most insurance plans. Places like West Virginia Health Right can help provide vaccinations for those who are low income and uninsured or using Medicare or Medicaid. If you are overqualified for their services they can refer you to other resources.