While we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be easy to forget about another common, yet deadly virus making its way around the country: influenza. Right now, it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. This means getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever.”
As a reminder, the CDC notes that a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19 (right now, there is no proven vaccine or cure for COVID-19). However, flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Additionally, getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.
During 2018-2019, flu vaccinations prevented an estimated 4.4 influenza illnesses, 2.3 million influenza associated medical visits, 58,000 influenza associated hospitalizations and 3,500 influenza associated deaths, according to the CDC. Those are pretty good numbers, especially for a country already struggling with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Talk to your doctor about getting a flu shot today! And since common flu symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat) are also common with COVID-19, be sure to call your healthcare provider before coming in if you experiencing any of these.
Nobody wants to get sick, with the flu or the coronavirus. So, do your part in protecting yourself and the community around you by washing your hands frequently, wearing a mask, staying home if you are ill and getting the flu shot this month. You never know whose lives you could be saving by taking these measures (including your own!).