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As flu season approaches, it’s crucial to stay informed and take necessary precautions. The CDC provides valuable information to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones. This fall and winter, both the flu virus and COVID-19 may be circulating, making vaccination the key defense against both illnesses. To maintain optimal health, it is essential to receive both the flu vaccine and a COVID vaccine.
Flu Season & COVID
The CDC assures that getting the flu vaccine and a COVID vaccine simultaneously is safe, whether it’s your first COVID vaccine or a booster shot. Side effects and immune response remain similar to receiving a single vaccine. Consider getting each vaccine in separate arms to minimize discomfort. 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.
Annual flu vaccination is recommended for individuals aged 6 months and older. It significantly reduces the risk of flu-related hospitalizations, illnesses, and fatalities. Leading health organizations, including the American Lung Association, American Diabetes Association, and American Heart Association, advocate for adults with chronic diseases to prioritize getting the flu vaccine. They urge healthcare professionals to support and promote flu immunization in their practices.
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.
If you live or work with individuals vulnerable to flu complications, getting vaccinated is crucial to prevent transmission. In addition to vaccination, prescription flu antiviral drugs are available for early treatment, which yields better outcomes.
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
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