Winter and Wellness: Staying Safe this Season

Jaden Morris, Staff Reporter

Winter will soon be approaching in Ohio, but something else may possibly coming as well. Will it be an outbreak of the flu, as regularly expected during this time of yearWill the influenza in which we have all known so well be overshadowed by an upsurge in COVID-19 cases locally? In these unprecedented times, these are all questions in which we must not only reflect and ponder upon, but we must attempt to do something about (in order to prevent widespread illness in our local community). Helping care for others and taking any necessary steps to help prevent the spread of a communicable disease should always be one of our first priorities in our pursuit to make a positive impact in the lives of others. 

While we have known for many months that COVID-19 has been and will likely continue to increase and become worse as it becomes colder, scientists and experts are uncertain as to how the virus will impact our communities together with influenza this winter. According to the Center for Disease Control, each year in the United States, there are at least 9 million to 45 million cases of various forms of influenza (flu) annually. This is representative of a significant number of individuals in our population, especially when considering the fact that many of them may be among the elderly or have pre-existing conditions (thus making them more vulnerable and susceptible to complications) 

While the spread of the flu is not entirely preventable, there are numerous reasonable steps that each one of us can take in order to be more aware and to help our neighbors. The CDC recommends distancing from individuals that may be sick, frequent handwashing, covering coughs, and more to help slow the spread. The most important step that can be taken, however, is obtaining a flu vaccination, which may help prevent or even slow the spread of the illness.   

Locally, in Portsmouth, vaccinations for the flu can be obtained in various places.  

Here are just a few of the many businesses and healthcare establishments offering flu vaccinations: 

– The Shawnee State University Health Clinic offers a number of vaccinations, with prices that may vary (click here for a list of vaccinations available at SSU). The influenza vaccine is priced at less than thirty dollars.  

– At Southern Ohio Medical Center, vaccines are available at the hospital’s outpatient pharmacies as well as Family Health Centers, with walk-ins welcome to obtain a vaccination. Facilities can be contacted for more information.  

– The Portsmouth City Health Department offers flu vaccinations during the months of October through April. The health department can be contacted at 740-353-5153.  

– Retail locations, such as Kroger and Walmart, offer flu vaccinations in their local pharmacies. Price, appointments, coverage, and more may vary. The phone number for the Portsmouth Kroger Pharmacy location is 740-354-2262, while the phone number for the New Boston Walmart Pharmacy is 740-456-8267. 

– Local pharmacies throughout Portsmouth and Scioto County offer flu vaccinations. Appointments, prices, and more may vary depending on location.  A search on the internet can reveal many of these pharmacies. 

There are many locations and opportunities, including some of those listed above, that offer free flu vaccinations. Contact each specific location for more information about the price of the vaccine as well as when you may be able to schedule an appointment to receive it. 

While there is no vaccination yet available to combat COVID-19, there is certainly one available for the flu. We may not know individually how to fully do our part in curbing the spread of coronavirus (other than masks and social distancing), but we can definitively obtain a well-known and safe vaccination to help slow down the flu this season. It is important that each of us are mindful of others in our community and that we take the necessary precautions to protect the well-being and overall health of our family, friends, and neighbors. We are all in the fight to combat illness together, no matter what it may be. The first step in having a strong and safe community is having a healthy community, and it starts with each one of us individually.