In an effort to prevent wide spread illness due to COVID-19 , seasonal flu, and other respiratory viruses the County of Santa Cruz Public Health Division is urging everyone six months and older to get vaccinated for flu and be up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
Older adults, children, and those with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications. The best way for everyone to prevent the and reduce severe illness from the flu is by getting vaccinated.
For more information on flu, check out these resources at CDC and CDPH.
Healthy Habits to Protect Against Flu
- Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
- Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.
- Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives
Tips on hand washing and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers
- It’s a SNAP Toolkit: Handwashing
Hand washing resources from the It’s A SNAP program, aimed at preventing school absenteeism by promoting clean hands. From the School Network for Absenteeism Prevention, a collaborative project of the CDC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Cleaning Institute.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Signs, Symptoms & Treatment
- Flu and other respiratory illnesses have similar symptoms including fever, cough, body aches, chills and fatigue.
- Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually has a sudden onset of symptoms. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- fever or feeling feverish/chills
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- muscle or body aches
- fatigue (tiredness)
- some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
- If you want information on treatment or have any questions about your symptoms reach out to your healthcare provider.
Where to Get Vaccinated
- Check in with your doctor/healthcare provider to see if they offer flu vaccines.
- Vaccines.gov - Check in advance about cost. Influenza vaccine is typically covered by health insurance.
- Doctors participating in the California Vaccines for Children Program offer no cost vaccines to eligible children 18 years old and younger.
- For more information about local clinics and vaccination sites, please visit www.santacruzhealth.org/izs.
- Medicare Part B recipients are eligible for one flu shot per season. Find locations and more information at Medicare.Gov.
People at Higher Risk
Anyone can get sick with flu, even healthy people, and serious problems related to flu can happen to anyone at any age, but some people are at higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes:
- Young children younger than 5 years, but especially those younger than 2 years old and older adults people 65 years and older
- people of any age with certain medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDs, and cancer)
- pregnant people
- people with disabilities
Influenza (flu) can be serious and can lead to hospitalization and death; however, certain groups of people, including certain racial and ethnic minorities experience an unequal burden of severe flu outcomes. Long standing social and health inequities likely contribute to this. Health Equity and Flu | CDC.
Date Last Updated: 2/8/2023