(Good Things Utah) The flu is a contagious, occasionally deadly, illness. It causes mild to severe symptoms, but most people with the flu have no serious complications. You can’t completely prevent the possibility of getting the flu, but you can improve your chances by getting a flu shot.

The Optum Flu Clinic on October 1st is a great and free way to get your flu vaccine.

What are the most important things for me to know about the flu?

Influenza (also known as “flu”) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Most experts think that flu viruses are mainly spread by droplets made when you cough, sneeze or talk. Less commonly, you’re at risk of contracting the flu by touching something that has the virus on it, and then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly eyes.

It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times it can be deadly.

The number of cases changes year-to-year, but the most recent data suggests that in the 2019-2020 flu season, an estimated 38 million Americans contracted a symptomatic case of the flu.

Are there symptoms I should watch out for?

Flu signs and symptoms usually emerge suddenly. People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or Body Aches
  • Runny or Stuffy Nose

Feeling feverish, and chills are common, too, though not everyone who gets the flu will have a fever. The flu and the common cold have some similar symptoms, so it can sometimes be difficult to tell which one you may be dealing with, based on symptoms alone.

Generally, flu symptoms are more severe and intense than common cold symptoms. Also, a runny or stuffy nose is much more common with a cold.

What should I do if I think I have the flu?

Most people with the flu have only mild illnesses and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.

If you have symptoms and are in a high-risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider.

How can I protect myself from the flu?

There are some everyday preventative actions we can all take, many of which we’re all familiar with through the COVID-19 pandemic response. Avoid close contact with those who are sick and if you’re sick yourself, limit contact with others as much as possible, except in seeking medical care.

Cover your mouth whenever you cough or sneeze. Wash your hands often with water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible. And most importantly, a yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.

Vaccines help reduce total flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths. Each season, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against what researchers determined will be the four most prevalent strains.

Most everyone over six months of age should get a flu vaccine, ideally by the end of October. That’s why Optum Care Network of Utah is hosting a public flu vaccine clinic on October 1st.

Optum Flu Clinic

The flu clinic takes place tomorrow, October 1st at Optum’s community center in Sandy, at 1403 East Sego Lilly Drive.

They’re offering a version specially formulated to create a stronger immune response, to target seniors’ increased vulnerability to serious health complications from influenza.

The clinic is free and open to all seniors ages 65 and older, and you don’t need an appointment. Just stop by their Sandy community center, starting at 9 a.m., and they’ll be going all day until supply is depleted.

Optum loves making things as convenient as possible for patients and the community, so this is a fully drive-through clinic. You don’t even have to get out of your vehicle.

To learn more, go online to OptumCare.com/UT.

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