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Press Release

Release Date: October 29, 2020
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

Measures to prevent the spread of the flu virus take on an added urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health professionals say efforts to minimize influenza may help preserve hospital capacity that may be needed if COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

The Chickasaw Nation Department of Health (CNDH) is providing flu vaccinations at no cost to the public at various locations within the Chickasaw Nation.

Flu vaccinations are available to anyone at CNDH testing sites, located in the parking lots of the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center and Chickasaw Nation clinics in Ardmore, Purcell and Tishomingo. The vaccinations are available Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Hours of operation are subject to change during inclement weather.

In addition, Chickasaw Nation Public Health Nursing is providing no cost flu shot clinics at various locations throughout the Chickasaw Nation, including community centers. Anyone 6 months and older can be vaccinated at these events. Masks and responsible distancing will be required. For information on upcoming flu shot clinic dates and locations, visit Chickasaw.net/Flu.

The Chickasaw Nation also provides regional county health departments within the Chickasaw Nation jurisdiction, with flu vaccines to administer to community members and schools.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting vaccinated is the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease, and vaccination efforts should continue as long as influenza viruses are circulating.

Health officials encourage everyone ages 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine each year. Getting a flu shot is the most important step in protecting yourself against the flu. The vaccine also helps defend against unknowingly spreading the flu to co-workers, family members and others who may be at high risk for flu-related complications.

Certain age groups, such as children and adults 65 years of age and older, are commonly known to be at high risk for developing flu-related complications, but others should be aware as well. Pregnant women and First Americans are high risk also, according to the CDC.

The most common signs and symptoms of the flu are all or some combination of the following: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue.

The flu virus is considered unpredictable in severity and can vary widely from one season to the next or from person to person. Complications from the flu are also unpredictable but can include pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration and worsening of pre-existing medical conditions.

The virus spreads easily from person to person through sneezing, coughing, sharing drinks and sometimes by touch. Those who have contracted the flu are encouraged to keep a safe distance from others by staying home from work, school and other activities.

According to the CDC, most healthy adults have the ability to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven days after becoming sick. People with weakened immune systems and children may be able to infect others for a longer period of time.

How to slow the spread of germs

There are many simple steps a person can take to help stop or slow the spread of the flu virus, including:

  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throwing the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Trying to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, the OKC-County Health Department and the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities (fevers should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

For more information on getting a flu shot, call the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center at (800) 851-913 or visit Chickasaw.net/flu.