Get a flu vaccine

Gabriela Campos/The New Mexican

Debra Martinez receives a flu shot administered by Ernest Mascarenas, a pharmacist at Nambe Drugs in 2019.

There is no vaccine for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

But there is one for the flu. People should get the flu vaccine and do so soon. Flu season is around the corner.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus is still active. Local health and town officials are worried about a double whammy of COVID-19 and flu cases overwhelming the health care system as winter approaches.

Taos is doing well keeping the number of coronavirus cases low thanks to the diligent efforts of town officials, businesses, residents and visitors. Still, as the weather gets colder and everyone spends more time indoors, health professionals worry about a surge in cases. Research indicates people gathered indoors in poorly ventilated rooms increase the risks of new infections.

A lot of Taos residents fell terribly ill with the H1N1 strain of the influenza virus in 2019. The flu and the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 cause similar symptoms.

The town, Holy Cross Medical Center, state health department officials and area physicians have met to come up with a plan should there be a surge in both types of cases.

They suspect far fewer people than usual may get a flu shot. Some of that is linked to coronavirus - schools have been closed and that's a place where many children and families could get shots; people concerned about exposure to coronavirus may avoid going out to get a flu vaccine; and there are a number of people in Taos who don't trust vaccines.

The town is partnering with the hospital, the state health department and others to survey people in the Taos Valley about the flu vaccine. No name is required and answers are anonymous for the short survey that takes less than a couple of minutes to fill out. Find the survey at: taosgov.com/vaccinationinformation.

Along with a vaccine, local health care professionals recommend other ways to help boost your immune system and stay as healthy as possible: get plenty of sleep, eat healthy food and exercise regularly.

It takes a couple of weeks for a flu shot to help the body fight off the virus, so that is a reason to get one soon. In addition, the same precautions in place now to prevent the spread of coronavirus will help reduce the spread of influenza - wash hands with soap frequently for at least 20 seconds, wear a mask, avoid close contact with people outside of your immediate family and stay home if you feel sick.

Honoring heroes

This is the 20th year Taos News will honor a special group of Taos County residents selected by a committee of their peers as Unsung Heroes and Citizen of the Year. Read about them in this week's Taos News and watch the Oct. 7 ceremony where they were honored in videos posted at the Taos News Facebook page, YouTube channel and on the website taosnews.com.

Politics, politics

A reminder that no candidate endorsement letters will be published in Taos News after Oct. 22 or online after Oct. 23. A lot of letters are still waiting to be published, so no more endorsement letters will be accepted after Oct. 15. Taos News will make recommendations on candidates in next week's edition - on Oct. 15.

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