Illinois health officials urge residents to get flu shots

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Illinois health officials urge residents to get flu shots

October 03, 2020 - 20:29

Illinois Department of Public Health officials are urging residents to get flu shots, noting that protection from seasonal flu is even more important in conjunction with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

Every year the flu sickens millions of Americans, hospitalizes hundreds of thousands, and kills tens of thousands.  

“This season more than ever, it is critical that Illinoisans get our flu shots,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “Flu and COVID-19 each can cause serious respiratory illness and co-infection could possibly lead to more severe illnesses, hospitalization, and even death.  While a vaccine for COVID-19 is still in development, a vaccine for flu already exists and is your best protection against flu.

"The choice is yours, but I urge you to not risk co-infection of two potentially deadly viruses.  Please try and protect yourself and the people around you by getting the flu vaccine, which has been proven over the years to be safe and effective.”

Everyone six months of age and older should get the seasonal flu vaccine. The vaccine is available in either a shot or nasal spray. Talk with a health care provider about what type is most appropriate. 

More information on the types of flu vaccine can be found on the CDC website

IDPH also recommends following the three W’s for protection against both COVID-19 and influenza.

  • Wash your hands.

  • Watch your distance.

  • Wear your mask.

Many of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are the same, such as fever and cough, but there are some differences.  If you have symptoms of either flu or COVID-19, self-isolate and contact a health care provider.  They can talk with you about testing and other measures you should be taking.

Symptom onset  2 days 2-14 days
Body Aches Common Common
Cough  Common Common
Diarrhea  Sometimes Sometimes
Fatigue/weakness Common Common
Fever/chills/shaking Common Common
Loss of taste or smell Rare Sometimes
Shortness of breath or
difficulty breathing
Common Common
Stuffy nose Common Common
Sneezing Sometimes Rare
Sore throat Common Common
Headache  Common Common

Influenza antiviral drugs can be a second line of defense for people who get sick with the flu.  Many studies have found that in addition to lessening the duration and severity of symptoms, antiviral drugs can prevent flu complications. 

To find a location to get a flu shot in your community, check with your health care provider or local health department.  You can also use the online Vaccine Finder.  More information about influenza can be found on the IDPH website at  More information about COVID-19 can be found at, including where you can get tested.