5 reasons it's still important to get your flu shot
(BPT) - As our country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat of the pandemic will become more complicated by increasing cases of the flu, making more people ill and putting further strain on the U.S. health care system.
Pediatric epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist Dr. Emily Godbout from Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU offers five crucial reasons everyone should get a flu shot this year.
1. Flu shots help reduce serious respiratory illness
While some people who get vaccinated may still contract influenza, the flu shot typically prevents about 70 of 100 people who receive it from developing a moderate to severe flu infection. So even though the vaccine might not completely prevent the flu, it can help keep you from getting sick enough that you have to go to the hospital.
“Reducing the overall burden of respiratory illnesses is really important to help protect vulnerable populations at risk for severe disease,” said Godbout, “And it also helps lessen the resulting burden on our health care system, which is crucial throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Godbout said that while practices people follow to help guard against COVID-19, such as handwashing, social distancing and wearing masks, will probably help decrease the spread of influenza, the flu shot is still the single most effective way to reduce the spread of the flu.
2. Flu shots are safe
“The flu shot is very safe and effective at helping prevent severe disease and hospitalization,” Godbout said. “I know people might have reservations about coming into the doctor’s office, but I can assure everyone that our providers are really vigilant about taking appropriate precautions to make sure everyone is safe.”
The doctor also pointed out that patients will not contract influenza from the vaccine. “The virus is inactivated,” she said, “so it can’t actually cause the flu infection after you get the shot.”
Flu shots are recommended for anyone six months old and older.
3. Flu shots are updated every year
“The U.S. flu vaccine is reviewed every single year and updated to match circulating flu viruses,” said Godbout. “The flu vaccine can typically protect against three or four different viruses. Since the virus changes from year to year, immunization or natural infection from the previous year is not protective."
She also said that our antibody response — what helps us fight the virus — can decrease over time, so a yearly dose will help boost the antibody response before the start of the influenza season.
4. Influenza and COVID-19 share some overlapping symptoms
It’s important to know that some symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza are similar. If you have symptoms you are concerned about, it’s best to call your health care provider right away. You may need to be tested for both the flu and COVID-19 to be certain what is causing you to be sick, so your doctor can recommend the best course of treatment.
While having the flu shot doesn't mean you can't get the flu, as discussed above, a vaccination will at least lessen the severity of your symptoms — giving you and your loved ones peace of mind.
Reducing the spread of flu cases overall, by getting vaccinated, will help cut down on the number of seriously ill patients that clinics and hospitals need to diagnose and treat, which will help everyone get through the winter season more easily.
5. A flu shot protects you throughout the season
Now is a good time to get vaccinated. It takes a couple of weeks for antibodies to develop in your body, but the vaccination will continue to protect you throughout the worst months of the flu season.
Godbout said, "We will continue to offer the flu shot throughout the fall and winter."
For the latest on flu and COVID-19, visit vcuhealth.org.
Coronavirus has impacted everyone around the world somehow. It may be a large impact or a small impact, but coronavirus has changed the shape of the future. One of the most obvious ways it has done this is with the workplace. Some industries are more dangerous than others right now due to their essential nature and the fact that it may be impossible to implement with social distancing. These are three of the most dangerous industries to be aware of during the coronavirus pandemic.
At the top of the list are those who work in healthcare. This includes the miracle workers working the front lines, such as doctors, nurses, and receptionists. This also includes those who may not get thought of as much, such as the laundry workers, janitors, lab technicians, and cafeteria workers. Because all the hospitals need to remain open, all the positions in healthcare are essential. It is nigh unto impossible to do clinical work from home, which is why healthcare is one of the most dangerous industries to work in during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The food industry is another dangerous industry to work in during the coronavirus pandemic. People still need to eat, even if they’re working from home. The food industry includes those working in restaurants, delivery services, and food processing plants. There are many factors that make food processing an especially dangerous job. In food processing plants, while workers may wear gloves, they use those gloves to touch the same piece of meat repeatedly, on a line with other workers who are in very close proximity, which is why food processing plants have become hotspots for the pandemic.
Another dangerous industry to work in is the public transportation industry. People rely on bus drivers, train drivers, and all other kinds of drivers to get them to work. Drivers meet other people all day every day, and it can be hard to maintain social distancing. Not everyone who comes on the bus or subway will be wearing a mask, which can make it even more dangerous for the drivers as the virus can live on surfaces for days—long after an infected person has left.
While the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, it’s important to try the best you can to be safe. Of course, there are industries that are more dangerous to work in during the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, those who work in these industries will need to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe.
Read this next: 3 Things US Cities Are Doing to Fight the COVID-19 Virus
Over the past few months, fighting the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has been the number one issue being focused on by the world. Scientists around the globe are racing to develop a vaccine to stop this dangerous virus, but, for now, there are a few things that cities are doing to mediate the spread of COVID-19. The following includes three things cities in the US are doing to fight the COVID-19 virus and protect their citizens.
In a time of crisis, such as right now, people are going to be looking to their government leaders for direction as to what to do next. Thus, many of the larger and even medium-sized cities in the United States are holding daily updates to inform their citizens. This is done to keep the population calm during these uncertain times and inform people about what to do next and how. Although the data is sparse and very new, it seems that these daily updates are actually helping to inform people properly.
Stay at Home Orders
One of the top recommendations presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization is for people to remain at home as much as possible. This, of course, is to limit the spread of the virus, which can lead to the overcrowding of local hospitals if too many people become sick at once. Cities across the United States have taken this recommendation very seriously and have even applied it to laws. Violating these orders carries harsh penalties in California. Although a controversial move, it has been seen by many as a necessary tactic to encourage people to remain indoors.
Mandatory Use of PPE
Many of the ordinances being placed in cities include restrictions on leaving home. People should stay in unless they need to go out for an essential reason, such as shopping for food, filling up the car tank, or assisting someone who is elderly. Many cities across the United States have also added an additional requirement, which includes the mandatory use of PPE in a public building. PPE, or personal protective equipment, includes gloves, medical face masks, or anything that covers your face. These new orders also come with hefty fines for non-compliance.
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the United States, many cities are hoping to implement the recommendations of the government while also being progressive with their preventive measures. Some of the information above contains recommendations already being made by these organizations as well as those yet to be recommended, such the required use of medical face masks.
Here are some more great tips: Tips to Beat Back the Cold or Flu
Even a mild case of the flu or a powerful cold can leave you feeling run down and out of sorts for days or even weeks. While many ailments must simply run their course, there are many steps you can take to fight your way back to good health. Learn how to beat back a cold or the flu by reading the full Medium article here.
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