As the flu season approaches in the United States, health experts are warning that the addition of another respiratory illness on top of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could overburden the health care system, strain testing capacity, and increase the risk of catching both diseases at once. The flu is a yearly virus that usually peaks from December to February where it is estimated that 40 million to 50 million Americans may contract the virus.
Unlike COVID-19, however, the flu is a familiar foe, and a safe and effective vaccine is available every year. And the time to get a vaccination is early in the flu season. “It is best to have your flu shot in late September or early October in order to ensure that you have time – usually two weeks – to develop an immune response before there is widespread transmission of the flu,” said Josh Adler, MD, chief clinical officer of UCSF Health. “A flu vaccine in this time frame generally provides protection throughout the entire flu season.”
Please note that the flu shot will not protect you against the Coronavirus. However, it will decrease the number of hospitalizations while the Coronavirus and flu season are going on at the same time. An estimation of 800,000 flu cases may require hospitalizations. With the overwhelming Coronavirus cases that are admitted to hospitals everyday, getting the flu vaccine is now, more than ever, critical to get during these difficult times. The ability to cut hospitalizations down is now a top priority during the Coronavirus. So please do your part to prevent the spread of not only the Coronavirus, but the flu as well. Continue to wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance, and talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about getting the flu vaccine this season.
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