Flu season is here, which means it's time to get your flu shot! This year, there is an extra barrier, however: COVID-19. The thought of going to a doctor's office can be cringe-worthy while COVID-19 continues to be widespread in the community.
What should you do?
Medical and public health experts are urging people to get the flu shot. This is why the flu shot is so important, especially this year:
What Is the Flu Shot?
The flu shot is a vaccination against the flu. Since the flu is seasonal and changes each year, there is a new vaccine each year. The flu shot is only partially effective at preventing the flu, but it dramatically lowers the risk of getting serious complications, such as pneumonia from the flu.
Protection lasts about 6 months after getting vaccinated. Some experts believe you should get the shot as early as possible this flu season to lower the risk of getting the flu and COVID at the same time.
Flu Shot During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Health experts believe that getting the flu shot is even more important this year than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both illnesses can potentially lead to serious complications, and the body may have more trouble fighting serious cases of the flu and COVID-19 at once. The flu and COVID-19 may have similar symptoms, leading to confusion about what to do if you get one or the other.
Who Should Get a Flu Shot
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that everyone over 6 months old get the flu shot each year. Older adults may need a different form of the vaccination that has a higher dose. If you have health conditions, you should ask your healthcare provider before getting the flu vaccine.
Lowering COVID-19 Risk When Getting the Flu Shot
There are likely precautions in place at your chosen location to protect patients from COVID-19 when they come to get their flu shots. Some providers may offer drive-through flu shot clinics at locations such as pharmacies and hospitals. Without even getting out of your car, you can and your family can get your shots and be on your way.
Otherwise, you may need to enter a building to get your shot. If so, there are some ways you can protect yourself against COVID-19.
Follow all posted guidelines, such as staying at least 6 feet away from other people while in line or walking down the hall.
Make an appointment if possible so you can be in and out as quickly as possible and do not need to wait in a line or a room with other people.
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