DO I REALLY NEED A FLU SHOT?
With COVID-19 still dominating the headlines, getting a flu shot may have moved lower on your to-do list. Time to move it to the top!
Getting vaccinated for flu (and pneumonia if recommended by your doctor) has never been more important than it is right now. Here’s why:
The enemy you know
While there are still lots of unknowns about COVID-19, flu is a familiar enemy, and the flu shot is an established weapon you can use to fight it. If you get your shot and then come down with symptoms that the flu shares with COVID-19, like fever, cough or sore throat, it can help your doctor come up with a quicker, more accurate diagnosis.
Make it an annual event
You need a flu shot every year. New vaccines are developed annually, and its effectiveness depends on how well experts match it to the flu strains that are in circulation at that time. The closer the vaccine matches the strain, the more a shot will protect you. By getting a shot and reducing your own risk, you not only protect yourself — you also safeguard those around you.
Play it safe
What if you get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time? The answer: Because it has never happened before, we just don’t know. By getting a flu shot, you can avoid playing a role in that risky science experiment. And if enough people in the U.S. get vaccinated, it reduces the possibility of overburdening a health care system that has to treat both flu and COVID-19 patients.
Don’t forget pneumonia shots
Flu shots are crucial, and so are pneumonia shots. There are two shots that guard against pneumonia: PCV13 and PPSV23. Adults age 65 and older are advised to have both, typically at least one year apart. If you haven’t had pneumonia shots or can’t remember if you have, talk to your doctor.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention