Flu Shot More Essential Than Ever During the Pandemic

Dr. Janet Seabrook

Every year around this time I begin my personal campaign to encourage everyone to get a flu shot. I am back at it this year only this time with a greater sense of urgency. As we enter the seventh month of a global pandemic, research and discovery around this medical mystery are still underway. As we await more proven data and ultimately a vaccine for COVID-19, there are things we can do to help protect ourselves and our families. One of these measures is getting a flu shot.

So before you start, I’ve heard every excuse from “the flu shot makes me sick” to “I’m afraid it will hurt.” Whatever your angst, I hope this article will help change your view of the flu shot and shed light on how beneficial it can be during the winter months.

Some medical experts are predicting a resurgence in COVID-19 cases with the onset of winter since the virus has shown signs of being more aggressive in enclosed indoor spaces. So what does getting a flu shot have to do with COVID-19?

  1. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. Getting the flu vaccine decreases the likelihood of contracting the flu which can save the healthcare resources for the care of patients who have contracted COVID-19.
  2. The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can be similar to the flu. If a patient is exhibiting symptoms and has a received a flu shot, it can help medical professionals potentially rule out the flu and further investigate whether the diagnosis is COVID-19.

Other flu vaccine benefits:

  1. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.
  2. Some studies have shown that flu vaccinations have reduced the likelihood of pregnant women being hospitalized for flu-related illnesses.
  3. Getting vaccinated may also protect people around you, such as those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, including infants and young children, senior citizens and those with certain chronic health conditions.

In a season of medical uncertainty, let’s focus on the measures that have a proven track record of being beneficial. Our immune systems need all the help they can get. So in addition to getting the flu shot, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, hydrate and implement a healthy diet that includes Vitamins B6, C and E.

For your convenience, flu shots are offered at Community HealthNet Health Centers throughout Northwest Indiana. Share these tips with your loved ones, and don’t forget to mask up! Your health matters!

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