Get your flu shot early! That’s the advice from health experts now that we are in the 2021-22 Influenza or “flu” season. Doctors are urging everyone over the age of 6 months to get a flu shot early.
It’s rare to have a once-in-a-century pandemic coinciding with the usual flu season – some call it a “twindemic.” Most experts think that because flu activity was so low last year when much of the country was shut down, this year has the potential to be a severe season. Even without the complexity of Covid-19, the seasonal flu is nothing to shrug off. In the 2018-19 season, the CDC reported 29 million flu illnesses, 13 million flu-related medical visits, 380,000 flu-related hospitalizations, and 28,000 flu deaths. This year, there’s high demand on healthcare providers related to Covid-19, so the flu could add further strain to the nation’s health care system. If we all get shots early and continue practicing the hygiene and preventative measures used during Covid-19, we can limit our own risk and the strain on hard-working providers!
Here are some key flu facts you need to know:
- Who: Annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older, with few exceptions. A flu shot is particularly important for pregnant women, essential workers, healthcare workers, caregivers, adults over 65, and people with underlying medical conditions (cancer, heart disease, asthma, for example) See: Who Should and Who Should NOT Get a Flu Vaccine.
- What: This season, all flu vaccines will be designed to protect against the four viruses that research indicates will be most common.
- Where: If you don’t have a health care professional you regularly see, you can find flu vaccines at many places, including health departments and pharmacies. Where to Get a Free Flu Shot Right Now—With or Without Insurance.
- When: Ideally, everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October. Flu season lasts through the Spring.
- What about the Flu and Covid-19 – can you have them both at the same time?
Yes. It is possible to have flu and other respiratory illnesses like Covid-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this is. Some of the symptoms of flu and Covid-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu or Covid-19.
- Will a flu vaccine protect against Covid-19?
Flu vaccines are not designed to protect against Covid-19. Flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death in addition to other important benefits.
See more FAQs from the CDC: Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions: 2021-2022 Season
- CDC: Influenza (Flu)
- Flu Information for Parents with Young Children
- Similarities and Differences between Flu and Covid-19
- Can you get a Covid-19 booster and a flu shot together? Here’s what you need to know.
- What you need to know about the Delta Variant (Covid-19)
- Feeling angry, stressed, or anxious? Get help!