Food For Thought: Flu Season

October 8, 2021

By Mary Parker Draper, Extension Agent – Smith County

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes that receiving a flu vaccination is important to protect yourself, family, and community from the flu. A flu vaccination this season can also help reduce the burden on our healthcare organizations as they continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. Since it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to kick in, now is the time to get vaccinated. It is recommended to get vaccinated by the end of October.

According to the CDC, less than half of adults in the US received a flu vaccine in recent years. Obviously, some of us still need convincing about the need for flu vaccination.

Paul Edward Sax, MD, is the Clinical Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sax lists five reasons to take the flu vaccination.

1. The flu is more serious than you may realize. The flu can be deadly. The following groups are at higher risk for serious illness from the flu: 

2. The flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent illness caused by seasonal influenza viruses. The effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies from year to year, but the CDC estimates that the flu vaccine reduces the need for a doctor visit from flu or flu complications by 61%.

3. You should receive a flu vaccine that is appropriate for your age and other risk factors.

4. Last year’s flu shot won’t provide adequate protection from the flu this year.

5. The flu vaccine is covered by many health plans.

Flu vaccination is the best way to prevent getting the flu, says Dr. Sax. He says that you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine.

For information on the flu vaccine, visit

Hash Brown Casserole

  • 2 lbs. Tennessee Pride sausage (Hot or Mild)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (10 oz) Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 8 oz. container of French Onion Dip
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup each green or red pepper
  • 1 (30 oz) package frozen hash brown shredded potatoes (thawed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, cook sausage until browned.  Drain well.  In a large mixing bowl, combine cheese, chicken soup, sour cream, French onion dip, chopped onion, bell peppers, salt and pepper, and fold in thawed hash brown potatoes. Mix well. Spread ½ of hash brown mixture over bottom of a 9×13” baking dish. Spread ½ of the browned sausage over hash browns. Repeat layering second ½ of hash brown mixture. Top with remaining sausage. Bake at 350 degrees for about one hour or until casserole is golden brown. Submitted by Rita Owens, Gordonsville FCE Club.