Food for Thought: Flu 2020

October 13, 2020

By Mary Parker Draper, Extension Agent – Smith County

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself, your family, and your community from the flu. A flu vaccine this season can also help reduce the burden on our healthcare organizations responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients.

The flu or influenza is a disease that is caused by a virus which spreads from the infected person. Influenza can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Common symptoms of the flu are fever, cough, chills, sore throat, headache, and muscle aches. The “flu season” extends from November through April every year. Consequently, the best time to get the flu shot is before December each year. A new shot is needed for every “flu season.” The viruses in the vaccine are killed, thus you cannot get influenza from the flu shot. However, the shot takes two weeks to take effect. There are also risks to getting the vaccine, such as a severe allergic reaction. One may also encounter soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given, as well as fever and aches within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.

You may be asking yourself, who should get the flu vaccine? It is recommended that everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine, especially the following:

  • Students and staff at schools and colleges to prevent outbreaks
  • Anyone coming in close contact with people at risk of severe influenza, such as family members or caregivers
  • Women who are pregnant during the influenza season
  • Children 6 months to 18 years
  • Everyone 50 years of age or older
  • Those with chronic health conditions

Consult with a doctor before getting a flu shot if you have a serious allergic reaction to eggs or a previous dose of the flu vaccine, a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), or are not feeling well at the time the shot is scheduled.

One should be aware that you can still get the flu even though you have had the shot this year. Flu viruses change often, and they might not always be covered by the vaccine. However, those who have been vaccinated often have a milder case than those who did not get the shot. Also, the flu shot is only effective against illnesses caused by the influenza virus. It does not prevent other causes of fever and colds.

Crock Pot Potato Soup

1 (32 oz) bag frozen hash browns, cubed

1 (32 oz) box chicken broth

1 can (10 oz) cream of chicken soup (do not add water)

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese

3 oz bacon bits

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1-2 pinches salt and pepper, to taste

Put the hash browns in the crockpot. Add the chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, and half the bacon bits. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or until potatoes are tender. An hour before serving, cut the cream cheese into very small cubes. Place the cubes in crock pot. Mix a few times throughout the hour before serving to incorporate cream cheese. Once the cream cheese is completely mixed in, it’s ready to serve. Top with cheddar cheese and additional bacon bits. Enjoy! Submitted by Myra Fisher, Carthage FCE Club.