Wilson Health to hold drive-thru flu clinic

SIDNEY— Wilson Health encourages all area residents to get their annual flu shot. Due to COVID-19 concerns, Wilson Health will host a drive-thru flu clinic from 8 a.m. to noon Oct. 17 on the south side of the Professional Building at its main campus, 915 W. Michigan St. in Sidney.

A drive-thru clinic means people will remain in their vehicle at all times. Masked are required. Attendees should bring their insurance card and valid photo ID. Flu vaccinations will be given to those 12 years of age and older.

A physician order is not required, but attendees must schedule an appointment online in advance. An appointment can be scheduled online by visiting www.wilsonhealth.org/flu or by texting Flu to 484848. Drive-thru clinics are especially important this year to contain the spread of COVID-19, Wilson Health officials said.

Influenza is a highly contagious viral respiratory infection affecting the nose, throat and lungs that can cause mild to severe illnesses potentially resulting in hospitalization and can lead to death. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle/body aches, runny/stuffy nose, headache and fatigue. Complications include viral and bacterial pneumonia, ear and/or sinus infections and worsening of existing chronic medical conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual flu vaccinations for everyone 6 months of age and older, especially among at-risk populations with compromised (weakened) immune systems. Vulnerable populations susceptible to prolonged infection and influenza-related complications include adults older than 65 years of age, children younger than 5, pregnant women and persons with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema), heart disease (congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease) and diabetes.

Annual flu vaccination is the primary method to provide immunity against the influenza virus, lessening illness and death caused by influenza-related complications. Both influenza and COVID-19 viruses cause respiratory illness. Co-infection is possible, thus, it is even more important to get a flu vaccination because preventing or minimizing flu may help to diagnose COVID-19 infection more easily, Wilson officials said. Once a COVID-19 vaccine is available, these same drive-thru clinics most likely will be run again for vaccination against COVID-19.