Doctors are warning the public not to wait; now, they say, is the time get a flu shot.
Here are the top reasons why:
● The public spent the last year masked up and isolated, and immune systems are likely weak because of it.
● Now as more people are out and about, going to restaurants, having family gatherings, the flu could spread quickly.
● Throw in the continuous threat of COVID-19 and the fact that a lot of people are tired of getting shots a/k/a “vaccination hesitation” … and local health care systems could be overburdened worse than what happened at the peak of the DELTA variant outbreak.
Right now, medical providers with American Family Care (AFC), a national healthcare network with a local clinic, are answering four key questions for local families to survive the “Twindemic” this fall:
1. Do you need the flu shot before local cases start to spike?
Yes. Getting a flu shot cuts down on flu spreading in your community. Since we didn’t really have a flu season last year, we need to build up immunity to fight the virus. Getting the flu vaccine doesn’t mean you will not get the flu, it will limit the severity of your symptoms and keep you out of the hospital.
2. Who should get the flu shot now?
All adults — even pregnant women — should get the flu vaccine by the end of October. Children over the age of 6 months should also get a flu shot by the end of this month. Keep in mind, some kids might require two doses, so you will need to plan it out.
3. Can people who have had COVID-19 get the flu vaccine?
Yes. You should not go out to get vaccinated until your quarantine is over. You do not want to jeopardize others at your doctor’s office or an urgent care clinic if you are still shedding the coronavirus. Remember, the CDC advises you can be contagious at least 10 days after the start of COVID-19 symptoms. Once you’ve recovered, no need to wait.
4. Is it safe to get the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine at same time?
Absolutely. No matter if you are getting a flu shot and your second or even third COVID-19 vaccine, it is totally safe.
“People of all ages, even pregnant women, should get a flu shot by October 31,” says Dr. Benjamin Barlow, chief medical officer of American Family Care. “In addition to getting vaccinated, families should continue to wash or sanitize their hands to slow the spread of flu and COVID germs.
“Most importantly, we should remember the flu vaccine, as well as the COVID 19 vaccine, prevent death. These vaccines prevent serious illnesses, keeping people out of the hospital and freeing up our health care community to care for the critically ill,” Barlow said
AFC medical providers are also urging families to remember flu and COVID-19 share similar symptoms like a dry cough, fever and shortness of breath.
So, what are the differences?
As you can see, there are some distinct differences that set them apart.
● A loss of smell and taste is a symptom connected to COVID-19 and is considered rare among flu sufferers.
● Nasal congestion and a runny nose are symptoms associated with the flu that is not seen in COVID-19 patients.
● Flu symptoms come on rapidly, whereas symptoms for COVID-19 can take upwards of 14 days to appear.
AFC docs say you cannot gauge symptoms on your own. It is important to see a healthcare provider and get tested to determine treatment.