As the calendar turns to October and the leaves are turning with it, it’s hard to deny that fall is here! With fall comes football, apple picking, all the plaid, pumpkin spice, seasonal allergies, colds, and the flu! Yes, that was a bit of a downward spiral, but in reality, we can’t guarantee that apple picking will be a success this year, however, we can promise that the flu will be making a visit! The flu (influenza) is a visitor that nobody wants to receive! No matter how old or young, healthy or not, rich or poor, the flu doesn’t discriminate, and without prevention, could show up at your place next! Now’s our chance to safeguard as best we can from the flu, and all other illnesses that steal our time, energy, and wellbeing!

According to the Vermont Department of Health, The 2023 flu season began…YESTERDAY, October 2nd. The weekly Influenza Surveillance Report can be found on their website: (Click on FLU Activity &  Surveillance to see the current snapshot of emergency room visits, sentinel providers, lab, and outbreak data. It’s interesting for those who really want to keep a close eye on it or those who are using that data to make their own educated health decisions. Yet, you first should know what the flu is! It’s a respiratory illness, that the CDC describes as, “A preventable disease caused by infection with influenza viruses. Typical features of influenza include abrupt onset of fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough (usually nonproductive), sore throat, and inflammation of the mucous membranes, as well as systemic symptoms such as headache, muscle aches, and fatigue.”

Now, it may sound like, “Oh yeah, a cold, so it’s like Covid-19.” Not quite, these are all caused by different viruses. Luckily there are vaccines that have been successful in preventing Covid-19 and the flu and are extremely helpful in reducing the symptoms and severity in breakthrough cases. Sure, they can’t be 100% effective, because the viruses continue to spread and they mutate creating new variants, but they are instrumental in saving lives and preventing serious illness. Each year, scientists work together to identify the flu virus strains that they believe will cause the most illness, and a new vaccine is made based on their recommendations – pretty cool stuff!

While viruses can adapt and mutate, we can adapt too! We have learned a lot about viruses in the last three years. We know for sure that handwashing works, and we need more of it! We know that when we don’t feel well, we need to stay home! Our bodies only heal at rest, and rest is especially important with the flu. The flu has the potential to snowball into severe complications such as pneumonia, organ failure, secondary infections, and even death. Isolating is crucial for healing and keeping those who are more likely to have those severe complications safe. We also know that masks are great options for keeping your germs with you and my germs with me. Masks can be helpful if you need to help or care for a sick loved one, when around vulnerable populations, or in general when trying to avoid illness.

Should the flu come knocking on your door, you will want to make sure your house has a nice strong foundation! It’s time to get your sleep, eat nutrient-rich foods, seek sunlight when you can, drink water, manage your stress, and make time for play! If you do get sick this fall, you’ll always have a stronger defense if your body and mind are in a healthy position. NCH is here to help protect you with our community Flu Clinics: Derby Elks Club, Tuesday, October 10th – 8 am-12 noon AND 3 pm to 7 pm, and Saturday, Oct. 28th – 8 am -12 noon. Primary Care – Barton/Orleans, Saturday, October 14th, 8 am – 12 noon. North Country Pediatrics Flu Clinics (by appointment only 802-334-5929)  We’ve got a spot for everyone at our flu clinics because we care about you, and we don’t want you to get the flu. So say it with us, “There’s no room for you, FLU!”


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center