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Nov 03

Flu Reminder

Posted by Scott  filed under Flu

Many of us likely have at least a little anxiety about the upcoming flu season.  We see COVID-19 infections increasing as much of the country cools off and people spend more time indoors.  Plus, there is no approved vaccine for COVID-19 thru the end of October.  It is expected to be several months before the first candidate is approved and it begins distribution. 

However, there are multiple proven influenza vaccines available which can lessen the impact of the 2020-2021 flu season.  Avoiding the flu can help reduce risk of unnecessary exposure for Coronavirus by keeping you out of the hospital.

If you are on the fence about getting a flu shot this year, keep these in mind:

The vaccine does not give you the flu.  The shots are made of pieces of the virus, but they are not active or infectious.  It takes time (up to two weeks) to provide the full immune response.  If someone catches the flu days after getting the shot, it is bad timing but not the fault of the vaccine.

Vaccines for the common flu strains help reduce the risk of spread and contraction roughly 60%.  Wearing a mask, frequent handwashing (with soap and water), covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding touching our face, eyes, nose areas are all additional steps to help reduce risk even more.

With the vaccine onboard you are more likely to avoid catching the flu.  But if you did, the vaccine lends to less severe progression and far less likelihood for hospitalization.  If you are in any of the higher risk categories for severe COVID-19 progression, this is very important.

Hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations occur because of influenza each year in the U.S.  And tens of thousands of premature deaths.  When looking at the rising hospitalizations for COVID-19 across the country, cutting the risk for the flu can save others’ lives, too. 

It is not too late to get your shot.  The CDC recommends getting the flu shot by the end of October and most effectively before January.  However, getting the shot at any time will provide a protective benefit.

If you have a thing about needles, and are aged 2 – 49, there are nasal sprays available.  Check with your primary care provider to identify the best option for you.

If you have questions about the flu shot and risks, speak to your primary care provider.

For more information, you can review the CDC’ Influenza page.

Stay safe and stay sane!