Preventing the flu is always important due to the number of hospitalizations and deaths it causes each year. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to do everything possible to reduce illnesses and preserve health care resources. 

 

Mayo Clinic Health System locations in the Southwest Minnesota region will start scheduling flu vaccination appointments using Patient Online Services or the Mayo Clinic App on Saturday, Oct. 1

 

Appointments for flu vaccinations will open beginning Oct. 17.

 

Patients also can call Mayo Clinic Health System at 1-877-412-7575 to schedule an appointment. 

 

“The Australian flu season, which typically runs May through September, has already exceeded its five-year average, particularly affecting children under age 5, according to a recent report,” says Dr. Abinash Virk, an infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic. “For the large part, we will see the reemergence of influenza in the winter. In comparison, in the winter of 2020, when we were all masking and social distancing, there was literally no influenza. But now that has all changed.”

 

Seasonal influenza, like COVID-19, is a contagious respiratory illness that disproportionately affects adults ages 65 and older. However, they are not the same viruses, which means a separate COVID-19 vaccination is needed for those unvaccinated or under-vaccinated. 

Flu symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches, extreme tiredness, and, more often in children than adults, vomiting and diarrhea. Learn more about influenza symptoms and causes on mayoclinic.org. Patients who believe they have the flu should contact their primary care provider