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Why This Year’s Flu Shot May Be the Most Important Ever
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A tractor, rather than mules pulled the Big Hitch ore wagons through the streets of Ketchum over Labor Day Weekend after the Wagon Days Parade was called on account of the COVID pandemic.
 
Sunday, September 13, 2020
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTO BY BONNIE PAINE

COVID GRAPH BY PAUL RIES

Dr. Fauci calls it the most important flu shot you will ever get.

 
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Sadly, the seven-day moving average for Idaho has taken a turn up as numbers climb past 35,000.
 

That, of course, is the one he hopes you will get this fall.

Health officials want to avoid a twindemic, in which those sick with flu will inundate health clinics and hospitals at the same time people are seeking care for COVID.

Or, worse yet, cases in which someone contracts both COVID and flu at the same time.

Having flu makes one more susceptible to getting COVID. And getting both could be exponentially more serious, as both can cause pneumonia, respiratory inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle tissues and other maladies.

 
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Blaine County’s seven-day moving average remains low with just 0.4 cases per day on average, says Paul Ries.
 

Up to 810,000 Americans get hospitalized with the flu every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And more than 200,000 of those end up in the hospital.

Last year between 410,000 and 740,000 Americans were hospitalized for the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

As many as 49,000 Americans have died of influenza in a single year. Idaho reported 39 flu deaths during the 2019-20 season, down from 58 deaths the previous season. It had 101 reported flu deaths in 2017-18 and 72 in 2016-17. And health officials say influenza deaths are likely underreported.

But when to get the flu shot?

Health officials recommend you get a flu shot any time after Sept. 15 into early October. Any earlier and you risk your protection running out before the end of the flu season. The flu season typically runs from October through April.

Children should get a flu shot before end of October, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Only 47 percent of Americans got the flu vaccine last year. And Idaho ranked fourth lowest in the nation for children flu vaccination, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A study compiled by Quote Wizard shows that just 48 percent of Gem State children received a vaccination last year. It’s one of just five states I the country with a rate below 50 percent. The others are Utah, Florida, Wyoming and Alaska.

Rhode Island has the highest rate with 76 percent.

Want a guide to figure out whether you have COVID or the flu this fall? Researchers at the University of Southern California say they’ve found that COVID symptoms tend to appear in a specific order: Fever, cough, aches and pains, nausea and/or vomiting and diarrhea.

Not all patients experience the same set of symptoms, said the study published in the medical journal Frontier Public Health. USC researchers examined data on more than 55,000 coronavirus cases in China, and compared them with 2,500 influenza cases in North America, Europe and the southern Hemisphere.

The good news is that flu rates were greatly reduced this year in the southern hemisphere. But health officials attribute that largely to the people who live there taking extra precautions for COVID by masking up, washing hands and distancing themselves.

It’s not known is the United States will experience the same respite from influenza when only 45 percent of its citizens wear masks regularly.

HOW ARE WE DOING WITH THE CORONAVIRUS?

Idaho reported 333 new cases on Friday for 34,950 cases all told and another 217 new cases on Saturday bringing its total to 35,167.

Ada County did much better than it has been doing, reporting just 39 cases for a total of 11,873. And Canyon County had 31 new cases. Bonneville County emerged as the state’s new hotspot with 55 new cases.

Blaine County has reported one new case in the past couple days for a total of 610.

Idaho has recorded eight new deaths in the past two days.


 

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