VALLEY CITY, N.D. (CCHD) – The following is a news release from the City County Health District office in Valley City.

“Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus and the seasonal influenza (most often called “flu”) is caused by infection with one of the many influenza viruses that spread annually among people. The COVID-19 virus seems to spread more easily than the flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. The signs and symptoms of the COVID-19 virus tend to take longer to appear and can be contagious for longer when compared with the signs and symptoms of the flu.

Getting a flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu and its potentially serious complications and getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection against COVID-19.

An annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older, with a few rare exceptions. Currently, the COVID-19 vaccine is available for individuals 12 years of age and older. Pfizer has announced that a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine should hopefully be available under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for ages 5-11 by Oct. 31. The COVID-19 additional dose after primary series is available for those who are immunocompromised. The booster dose recommendation has yet to be finalized.

The flu spreads around the United States every year, typically between October and May. Anyone can get the flu virus, however, it is more dangerous for some people. Infants, young children, people 65 years and older, pregnant women, and individuals with certain health conditions such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes, or someone with a weakened immunize system are at greatest risk of flu complications.

Flu is different from a cold; the flu usually comes on suddenly. People who develop the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever (it is important to note that not everyone who gets the flu will have a fever), feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Most people who get the flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infection, and ear infections) because of having the flu virus, some of which can be life-threatening and could result in death.

There are many flu viruses, and they are always changing. Each year a new flu vaccine is made to protect people against the influenza viruses believed to be the likely cause of the upcoming flu season. If the current flu vaccine does not exactly match the circulating flu viruses, it may still provide an individual some protection.

Generally, September and October are good times to be vaccinated. Ideally, everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October. The influenza vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine. It will take about two weeks for protection to develop after vaccination.

City-County Health District (CCHD) will be offering extended hours starting the last week in September and through the month of October. CCHD will be open on Tuesdays starting at 7:00 AM and will also stay open until 6:00 PM on Wednesdays.

CCHD is conducting a mass influenza and COVID-19 clinic on Saturday, Oct. 9, from 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM. The mass clinic will be held at the Hi-Liner Activity Center (HAC). The influenza vaccine will be available for individuals 6 months of age and older. And the COVID-19 vaccine will be available for individuals 12 years of age and older. Bring your insurance card and if applicable, your COVID-19 vaccination card. Please call City-County Health District at 701-845-8518 with any other questions you may have or if you would like to schedule an appointment to be vaccinated.”