Influenza is a contagious virus that can spread from as far as six feet away, causing the flu. Therefore, most people over six months old should get the flu shot annually to prevent getting infected.
The influenza virus can circulate year-round, but the typical flu season runs from October through late May. Therefore, it is advantageous to get the flu shot early, but it’s ok to get it any time.
Getting your flu vaccine in addition to the COVID-19 vaccine relieves the over-burdened healthcare system by keeping you safe and out of the hospital. Influenza is a preventable but severe disease.
Facts About the Flu
According to CDC estimates of the 2019-20 flu season:
- 38 million got the flu
- 18 million went to a health care provider
- 400,000 were hospitalized
- 22,000 died
The CDC also says that over 7 million flu cases, 105,000 hospitalizations and 6,300 deaths are prevented annually with the flu shot.
Older adults and young children are particularly at risk of infection and should get a flu shot annually. Influenza is unpredictable, as is COVID-19. Many people can get better independently, but previously healthy individuals can die.
Making Good Health Choices for Your Family
While treatments are available for those who don’t get the flu shot and get sick, why waste time in bed when you don’t have to? Why risk getting the flu and passing it on to all your family and friends?
You should avoid the disease altogether and keep the risk of illness for those around you at a minimum. Plus, when you take time off to recuperate or care for a recuperating loved one, you lose money on medicine and miss workdays.
The flu shot does not interfere with the COVID-19 vaccine. You can even receive them at the same time. However, one is not a substitute for the other – the flu shot will not protect you from COVID-19 and vice versa. You need a specific vaccine to protect against each virus, even though both cause respiratory diseases with similar symptoms.
While neither of the shots provides a 100% chance of keeping you from getting sick, being vaccinated does significantly reduce the severity (40% to 60%) of the illness if you do.
Last year, the flu season was mild thanks to COVID-19 prevention methods like hand washing, social distancing and mask-wearing. Although, having to remain indoors sharing enclosed spaces with others could increase your risk of getting sick. Fortunately, getting the flu shot helps keep you and your children’s immune system healthy and everyone around you safe.