Why You Need a Flu Shot During COVID-19

The flu might be overshadowed this year by SARS-CoV-2, but the influenza virus is still a major health concern. Like COVID-19, the flu is a contagious and potentially fatal respiratory illness caused by a viral infection. However, unlike COVID-19, we currently have effective vaccines to prevent the flu. A flu shot is especially important during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The flu shot will be especially beneficial this year. Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent illness from flu viruses; getting your vaccine early provides the most protection. Click To Tweet

Yes, you need a flu shot during the COVID-19 outbreak

Epidemiologists warn us about the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 infections in the fall. We typically associate fall and winter with cold and flu season when people spend more time indoors and in close proximity with one another — these are the same conditions that increase the risk of spreading coronavirus.

While COVID-19 and the flu are caused by different viruses and flu shots won’t protect against coronavirus, it’s especially important to get your flu shot for the upcoming flu season.

Lower your risk for preventable illness

The CDC expects both influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 to spread during this flu season. COVID-19 and the flu share common symptoms, which can make it difficult to differentiate between the two based on symptoms alone.

If you get the flu, you might worry that you have COV ID-19. This can cause unnecessary stress for you. It also might send you down the wrong treatment path, which can delay the right treatment for flu.

Flu shots are a safe and effective way to prevent illnesses caused by flu viruses. While washing your hands often, avoiding close contact with others, and staying home if you are sick (sound familiar?) help limit the spread of flu viruses, vaccination is still the most effective means of protecting yourself from influenza.

The flu shot won’t protect you against COVID-19, but vaccinating against the flu significantly lowers your risk of getting sick during flu season.

Help conserve health care resources

While the flu may cause mild symptoms that don’t require medical care, the flu can also cause complications: hospitalizations, pneumonia, and death. Influenza causes more than 100,00 hospitalizations each year and tens of thousands of deaths.

Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing illness from the flu, and it can lessen flu symptoms and reduce hospitalizations for those who do get sick.

Fewer confusing symptoms will also mean that resources for COVID-19 won’t be accidentally diverted to people who actually have the flu.

The sooner you get a vaccine, the better

What normally prevents you from getting a flu shot? Is it time, cost, inconvenience, or reliance on others getting vaccinated? Whatever your reasons for not getting a flu shot in the past, reassess that decision this flu season.

A flu shot is even more important during the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ve seen what happens when a virus that no one is immune to spreads.

Getting a flu shot early offers the highest level of protection from the flu. Ideally, you get your flu vaccine before influenza begins spreading in your community. It takes a couple of weeks for the vaccine to protect against the virus; make an appointment to get a dose of flu vaccine as soon as it’s available.

Several MANA clinics offer flu shots in Northwest Arkansas. All of our clinics are taking extra precautions to keep our patients safe during COVID-19. You can check our site for clinic hours and special flu clinic hours or check the Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas – MANA Facebook page.