Flu season is here, on top of the COVID conundrum still sidelining many of us. Thankfully, there’s a flu shot available each year, helping protect us from contracting the miserable illness. Ending the year on a low note isn’t exactly uplifting, so head into 2021 feeling healthy and hopeful.
There’s no vaccine for COVID yet, and as scientists and medical experts work around the clock, we’ll soon see several vaccine options available. Until then, it’s all about continued social distancing, wearing a mask and practicing meticulous hygiene measures, and so forth.
Is the flu still fierce? Even if we’re not around others as much due to COVID concerns, the flu is transmissible and can be terrible. Now’s the time to get your flu shot, and your local vybe is providing them already.
Waiting until you have flu-like symptoms is too late, so avoid the agony and be proactive. For those who’ve had the flu before, you know all too well how the body aches, fever, chills, fatigue, cough, and runny nose can put a damper on your day, to say the least. It’s contagious and concerning, especially for the elderly, health-compromised, and our youth. Even a healthy adult can be wiped out with a bad case of the flu, something that could have been potentially avoided had they had received a flu shot earlier in the season.
Keep in mind, you need a shot every year. As the flu strains adapt and mutate from previous years, new vaccine formulas are manufactured. Also, your immunity will wear off, making you more vulnerable as more time passes since you were last immunized.
Do those above symptoms sound a lot like those of COVID-19? That’s because they are. The main difference between the two is the commonly reported loss of taste and smell associated with COVID, along with the transmission period (the flu comes faster, generally speaking) after coming in contact with an infected person.
You can learn more about COVID vs. the flu, as educating yourself is half the battle. A quick test at your doctor’s office or health/urgent care center can determine if you have the flu or COVID, and appropriate treatment measures will be executed.
The peak of flu season hovers around December through February; it’s one of winter’s biggest woes. With between 9 and 49 million people affected annually, it’s nothing to sneeze at—although you’re sure to be sneezing plenty if you catch it. Getting your flu shot before it hits is the key to protecting yourself, although keep in mind that it’s not 100% effective. It is recommended that you get your shot by the end of October to be sure you’re as safe as possible, as it takes about two weeks for flu antibodies to start their protective response.
As per The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Recent studies by CDC researchers and other researchers suggest that flu vaccination usually reduces the risk of influenza illness by 40% to 60% among the overall population when the vaccine viruses are like the ones spreading in the community.” Still, it’s highly recommended to get your shot, as any level of protection is a plus.
Those 6 months and older can get a flu shot unless their doctor recommends otherwise. Why Bother?
You won’t “catch” the flu from the vaccine, and side effects are generally minimal if you have any at all. Some people do experience soreness at the site of the shot, slight fever, aches, and nausea. If you experience anything extreme, see a doctor ASAP.