Flu season is starting, and we would like to share information courtesy of the CDC in order to keep you and your family members safe this season.
This fall and winter, the flu virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 may both be spreading. Vaccination is the best defense against both COVID-19 and the flu. Therefore, both vaccines are necessary to help people stay healthy.
Flu Season & COVID
The CDC says it’s safe to get the flu vaccine and a COVID vaccine at the same time, whether it’s your first COVID vaccine, or for those who are eligible, your third dose or a booster shot. The body’s immune response and any possible side effects are generally the same as when getting one vaccine alone. Consider getting each vaccine in a different arm to help reduce any pain and swelling that might happen.
Almost everyone 6 months and older should receive a recommended annual flu vaccine. It is one of the best ways to reduce flu illnesses, hospitalizations and death from flu.
Three of the nation’s leading, non-profit health organizations – the American Lung Association, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association – urge adults living with chronic disease to prioritize getting an influenza vaccine every flu season, and are also calling on health care professionals to advocate for and support flu immunization in their practices.
Those who live or work with people who are at high risk of flu complications should get a flu vaccine to keep from spreading the flu to them.
There are also prescription flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness. It is best to start these medications as early as possible.
It may be hard to tell the difference between flu and COVID-19 because many of the symptoms are similar. Testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Our sites offer both flu and COVID testing.
The flu is not just a really bad cold. Rather, it is a contagious illness that affects the nose, throat, lungs, and other parts of the body. It can spread quickly from one person to another. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
Flu Season: What To Look Out For
Unlike a cold, flu symptoms start suddenly. They appear about 1 to 4 days after a person is exposed to the flu.
Flu symptoms may include:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Some people have vomiting or diarrhea. (More common in children.)
Anyone can get the flu and serious complications from the flu can happen at any age.
Some people are at high risk for serious complications from the flu. This includes: older people, pregnant women, young children and people with certain health conditions. Infants under 6 months of age have a higher risk of flu complications than children of any other age. However, they are too young for the flu vaccine.
Our centers offer flu testing and flu vaccines. Our providers may help you decide if the flu antiviral drugs are right for you. Please stop by any of our Urgent Care Centers if you are interested in the influenza vaccine this flu season or if you or your loved ones develop flu-like symptoms.
Dina Elnaggar MD, MS, CAQSM
© Excel Urgent Care and Affiliates 2022