Want to avoid the flu this year? Getting a flu shot each year is the best protection. Providence Health and Services recommend a flu shot for everyone 6 months or older, especially:
- People age 65 and older
- Pregnant women
- Young children
- Individuals of any age with chronic illness, such as heart, lung or kidney disease, asthma or diabetes or are immunocompromised
- People who live with or care for those at higher risk
Will the flu shot protect me from COVID-19?
The flu vaccine will not help you avoid infection with COVID-19, says Providence Southwest Infectious Disease Physician Preeti Kondal, D.O., because it is a different virus than influenza. But it will guard you against influenza strains that are expected this flu season, specifically two different influenza A strains, and two different influenza B strains.
Why should I get a flu shot, especially this year?
Getting a flu shot decreases the possible impacts on your respiratory system. It not only reduces your risk of illness but can prevent hospitalizations. Less people in the hospital fighting the flu, also leaves more resources for the care of COVID-19 patients.
While the flu shot is not 100 percent effective, even if you do get the flu, symptoms are usually milder if you have been vaccinated.
When is the best time to get a flu shot?
“The flu vaccine is available now, and you should be vaccinated early in fall before the season begins as it takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop to provide protection,,” says Dr. Kondal. “The vaccine protection lasts about six months.”
Flu season typically peaks in January or February.
How do I get a flu shot?
First, contact your primary care provider. If you do not have one, check with your pharmacy, or an immediate care, express care or urgent care clinic. Flu shots are covered by most insurance plans.
What is the difference between the flu and COVID-19?
Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
Stay healthy and safe this fall!