With flu season officially underway and the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, it’s important to do everything in your power to stay healthy and to understand the benefits of getting your flu shot and how it protects you and others.
What are the benefits of the flu vaccine?
According to the CDC, the flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor visits each year. Getting yours can prevent you from getting the flu, and has been shown to reduce the severity of illness in those who get their flu shot but still get sick.
It reduces the risk of flu-related hospitalizations and is an important prevention method for people with chronic health conditions. The flu vaccine protects you and your baby if you’re pregnant, and can be lifesaving for vulnerable children. Getting yourself a flu vaccination can also protect those around you, like your family, friends and coworkers.
Who should get a flu vaccine?
The CDC recommends a flu shot for anyone six months of age and up. Some of the more vulnerable populations are more strongly encouraged to get theirs, including:
- Adults 65 and older
- People with chronic illnesses
- People with respiratory illnesses, like asthma
- Pregnant women
- Those who are immunocompromised
- Young children.
Why does the flu vaccine matter?
Along with protecting you from getting infected, it reduces the spread of the virus and the need for medical care. With some hospitals already spread thin because of the pandemic, there is just as much of a community need to prevent illness as there is on an individual basis. There are surges in patient volume every winter because of the flu, and when those are combined with pandemic surges, that could mean it becomes harder to get care when you really need it.
A strain on hospitals and clinics means a strain on patients and their families as well. Getting a flu vaccine is doing your part to stay healthy and keep our communities healthy.
Can you get a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine safely?
It’s safe to get both a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine, even on the same day. You aren’t likely to experience more side effects, and the effectiveness of each vaccine doesn’t change. Getting both simply protects your health and those around you even more, and that’s a great reason to get your vaccines as soon as possible.
Along with getting vaccinated, it’s recommended to continue following the precautions already in place, like wearing a mask in public, washing your hands and physical distancing. These are your best protection to keep you and your family healthy and safe this flu season.
Schedule your flu vaccine today
It’s not too late to get your flu shot. Given all the benefits, flu vaccination rates are still well below optimal levels with less than half of adults 18 and older getting theirs annually. It takes about two weeks to develop an immune response from the vaccine so scheduling sooner than later is best. Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider today. Shots are available at AdventHealth Medical Group Primary Care locations; find a list of locations, providers and contact information at AdventHealthKC.com/PrimaryCare.