It’s that time of year again – flu season! Are you prepared? Getting a flu shot as soon as possible is essential to protect yourself from the virus. It’s important to know who needs a flu shot and when to get it. The COVID-19 virus has complicated what a normal flu season looks like. Here is what you need to know to stay safe this flu season.
Flu Season in the USA
The fall and winter months are peak flu season in the US. While influenza viruses can spread at any time of the year, activity typically peaks between December and February, although it can continue into May.
Flu seasonally changes our overall health outcomes (such as infections, hospitalizations, and fatalities). Several other respiratory viruses that circulate throughout flu season, in addition to flu viruses, and can also induce symptoms that are similar to those of a flu infection.
The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the most common cause of severe respiratory illness in young children, is one of these respiratory viruses. RSV is also a prominent cause of respiratory illness-related death in people 65 years and older. (CDC, 2021)
Who Should Get a Flu Shot and When?
CDC guidelines recommend, with very few exceptions, everyone aged 6 months and older should have a flu shot each season. People more likely to experience severe consequences from influenza should be vaccinated. Flu vaccines have been licensed for use in both adults 65 years of age and older as well as children as young as 6 months old.
According to the CDC, pregnant women and those with specific chronic medical issues should also get their flu shots. They report it is safe to administer the nasal spray flu vaccine to healthy adults aged 2 to 49 who are not pregnant. The nasal spray flu vaccine should not be administered to pregnant women or those with specific medical conditions. If you are pregnant, consult with your doctor before getting the flu vaccine.
It is preferred that we get vaccinated before the virus spreads in our community. Flu shots are typically recommended in September and October. The ideal time to vaccinate everyone is by the end of October. However, vaccination is still advised even if you can’t obtain it until November or later because flu activity often peaks in February and can persist significantly into May. (CDC, 2021)
Can I Get a Flu Shot and COVID 19 Vaccine at the Same Time?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised against receiving any other vaccines for 14 days before and after each dose of COVID-19 when the vaccines initially became available. After evidence revealed that the COVID-19 vaccination was safe and that other vaccines would not impair the immune response, the government modified its advice.
It is recommended by the CDC that older persons over 65 years have both vaccinations since COVID-19 infections strains are rapidly changing, driven by the development of the more contagious forms of the disease.
When to Get Vaccinated
It will take 10 to 14 days after receiving the flu shot before you are completely protected. In addition to the viruses from last year, the current flu vaccine offers protection against two additional types, and it takes time for your body to produce new antibodies. On the other hand, specialists claim that because your body has already been prepared by your vaccinations from earlier this year, the COVID-19 booster will improve your immunity in just two to three days. (Crouch, 2021) Have a conversation with your doctor if you have questions about how these vaccines will affect you, given your current personal health status.
You can protect yourself in flu season if you keep certain things in mind. Remember to get the flu vaccine early, wash your hands often, and stay home if you’re feeling sick. By following these simple tips, we can help prevent the spread of illness and keep your family healthy. Do seek medical help from a professional if you’re unwell during the flu season.
“Flu Season.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Sept. 2021, www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season.htm#:~:text=In%20the%20United%20States%2C%20flu%20season%20occurs%20in%20the%20fall,last%20as%20late%20as%20May.
“Who Needs a Flu Vaccine.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Oct. 2021, www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccinations.htm#:~:text=It’s%20best%20to%20be%20vaccinated,by%20the%20end%20of%20October.
Crouch, Michelle. “Can You Get Your COVID-19 Booster with Your Flu Shot?” AARP, 10 Sept. 2021, www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2021/when-to-get-vaccines.html?CMP=KNC-DSO-COR-COVID-21436-GOOG-HEALTH-COVID-ConditionsTreatments-VaccineandFluShot-COVID-Phrase-NonBrand&gclid=CjwKCAjwoMSWBhAdEiwAVJ2ndpmyo4zPWaJiU6wTBMOJiS3wsigQ8TSYLRTrHbNt8GAt3fTBb6TLpBoCS0oQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds.