• Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

How to protect yourself from the Coronavirus and the flu

JONESBORO, Ark- The ADH is reporting 31 positive flu cases in the state.

Along with the Coronavirus, health officials say it’s vital to continue wearing a mask and, this is the most important year to get your flu shot to help protect yourself.

“The masking, the social distancing, the best way to prevent disease is to avoid exposure,” says St. Bernards Resident Dr. Katie McFarlin. “Of course, handwashing, good handwashing. Cover your coughs and sneezes. Keep areas commonly touched areas in your home or work clean, like phone, steering wheel, and doorknobs.”

She also says monitor your health and wash your hands after your sneeze or cough.

Northeast Arkansas is leading the state as the highest in COVID positivity rate and new Coronavirus cases.

While we do have flu cases, the ADH is reporting “minimal” flu activity. 61% of the reported 31 influenza cases are Type A, with 39% being Type B.

Dr. McFarlin says now is the best time to get your flu shot.

“The best time to get it is really now unless you have contraindicated illness which you would need to speak to your primary care doctor about that,” she says. “Or, if you’ve recently had coronavirus and been positive, there is a waiting period before you get your flu shot.”

Dr. McFarlin says you should wait a week to get your shot after recovering from COVID.

She says St. Bernards has 1 test now that can determine if you have COVID or the flu.

No flu deaths are reported for this season in arkansas.

One was reported the final week of the 2019-2020 season at the end of September.

Dr. McFarlin says St. Bernards is starting to prepare in advance.

“They’re going great lengths to make sure we have enough PPE, that we have extra equipment, cross-training employees, and making sure we have the best labs and care to take care of the community,” said Dr. McFarlin.

If you need a flu shot, all health department units across the state have the flu vaccine and, you can get yours Monday through Friday and, there is no cost to you.

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