As we settle into the fall season, it’s important to start thinking about when and where you’ll be getting your flu vaccine this year. With COVID-19 still spreading at high rates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe it’s more important now than ever to get vaccinated against the flu.
According to a study conducted by the CDC, more than 200,000 people, on average, are hospitalized with illnesses associated with seasonal influenza virus infections. With the ongoing pandemic, the CDC fears that if we aren’t proactive in protecting ourselves and others, hospitals and health systems might become overwhelmed.
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older receive a flu vaccine each year. Unlike other vaccines, the vaccine against influenza is given annually flu viruses are continually changing and scientists create the vaccine in response to such changes.
Many people argue that the flu vaccine causes them to get influenza, but we want to remind everyone that this is not the case and you cannot get the flu from the virus. You may develop flu-like symptoms (i.e. fever, headaches, muscle aches, etc.) for 1-2 days after receiving the vaccine, but this is not the virus itself. While there’s still no guarantee that the flu vaccine will keep you from getting the flu, research shows that it can lessen the length and severity of the virus if you do acquire the illness.
We also encourage you to continue to practice proper hand hygiene, wear a mask when around others, and stay home when you’re feeling under the weather. Taking actions such as these allow you to protect yourself and others from not only the flu but also COVID-19, which doctors are still trying to study and figure out. There’s no current vaccine for the novel coronavirus and therefore we must take additional precautions to protect ourselves and others.
Northeast Missouri Health Council will be providing flu shots and you can call your provider’s office today to get an update or schedule your appointment. Additionally, local health departments are beginning to offer walk-in clinics and drive-thru flu clinics for the convenience of the community. If you have concerns about the vaccine, contact your provider’s office and speak with someone there.
Stay healthy, Northeast Missouri, as we continue to fight these battles together!