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Ascension Via Christi Hospital treats first influenza patients of “flu season” 

Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg clinicians have treated the area’s first patients who have tested positive for Influenza types A and B. 

“Although the area is still combating COVID-19, our communities need to be aware of the annual flu season,” said Drew Talbott, President of Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg. “One of the best ways to prevent individuals from getting the flu is by getting a flu shot.” 

“With COVID-19 hospitalizations remaining steady, it’s especially important for our community members to take precautions to keep themselves and their families safe during this time.” 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a flu shot for everyone, aged 6 months and up. It is especially important that pregnant women, adults 65 and older and people with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, asthma and diabetes receive the vaccine. 

It’s also important for people to get the shot every year, according to Dr. Timothy Stebbins, Medical Director for Ascension Via Christi Emergency Departments in Pittsburg, Fort Scott and Manhattan. Vaccinations are designed to cover the most common strains of flu for each year. Vaccine benefits are effective about two weeks after receiving the shot, which is why it is important to receive the vaccination before flu season begins. 

“Symptoms of the flu can be similar to early symptoms of COVID-19,” Stebbins said. “Patients exhibiting any flu-like symptoms — fever, body aches, cough, congestion and fatigue — will likely get tested for COVID-19 and influenza.” 

Flu transmission prevention is similar to techniques recommended for COVID-19 — isolation, social distancing, masking and hand hygiene. 

“The flu is a respiratory illness that is caused by the influenza virus,” Stebbins added. “The flu and the common cold are not the same as COVID-19 — they are all caused by different viruses. 

For more information about influenza, the vaccine, common symptoms and treatment options, visit the CDC website at 

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