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FDA recommends flu shots for workers in the food chain

Nebraska City News-Press

The FDA wants to remind the millions of men and women on the front lines of growing, processing, preparing, selling and delivering food for both people and animals, to get their seasonal flu shot.   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the healthcare community are preparing for flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 that will spread this fall and winter.

Both are contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. One of the most important differences is that there is a vaccine already available that can protect you against the flu.

While getting a flu shot will not protect against COVID-19, a flu shot will protect you by reducing your risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and possibly death. Protecting yourself from the flu will also help save medical resources for the care of COVID-19 patients. 

People who have flu often feel some, or all, of these symptoms:

fever or feeling feverish/chills

cough

sore throat

runny or stuffy nose

muscle or body aches

headaches

fatigue (tiredness)

some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

The best time to get a flu shot is now before the flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after getting a vaccine for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection. 

The same factors that contribute to workplace and community spread of COVID-19-- including prolonged close contact with coworkers, congregate housing, shared transportation, and frequent community contact among workers—likely contribute to the spread of the flu. 

When an essential worker gets a flu shot, they protect themselves, their families,  co-workers, and their communities. Healthy workers help to ensure the availability of a safe and nutritious food supply. 

To learn more about how and where to get a flu shot, contact your employer or visit: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/