It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, there is a chill in the air, kids are picking out their favorite costumes for Halloween, and we are getting ready for Thanksgiving. This time of year also should remind you to get a flu shot. It’s the time to protect not only yourself but your family and your community. There seems to be more questions this year. Navigating flu season: what you should know.
Protect the Most Vulnerable With a Flu Shot
When you get vaccinated from flu, you help protect those around you who are most vulnerable and likely to get very sick from flu like babies, young children, pregnant women, and older adults. If you care for an older relative, taking them for their flu shot is part of your care.
In addition, people with chronic conditions are more at risk of getting very sick from the flu. This includes those with asthma, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and sickle cell anemia.
The more people who take advantage of the availability of the flu vaccine help to keep your community safe. You can get a flu shot quickly and conveniently at Premier Urgent Care in Chicago.
Another Dangerous Virus
A third respiratory virus could spike again this fall called RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus. This is a dangerous virus which strikes infants, young children, and older adults and which can ultimately become deadly.
A perfectly healthy child can become seriously ill with RSV requiring hospitalization, oxygen, fluids, and other measures. RSV looks like a cold, but can cause serious inflammation in the baby’s tiny airways.
The good news is a new vaccine or a monoclonal antibody has been approved by the FDA for younger children and older adults to protect against RSV.
Differences and Similarities Between Flu and COVID
You may have some lingering concerns and questions about protecting yourself from COVID as well as flu.
Both of these infections come from a virus. They are both infectious respiratory illnesses, but come from different viruses. COVID comes from a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Flu comes from the influenza virus.
Let’s answer some questions about these two:
- It is safe to get the flu and COVID shot together.
- Older adults at risk for RSV should get that shot alone and wait at least 2 weeks to get another type of vaccine.
- Everyone should take advantage of COVID boosters since immunity can wane with time.
- The new COVID boosters include protection from a sub-variant of Omicron called XBB and will protect you from all strains.
- There is no evidence that getting a flu shot increases your risk of getting COVID.
- CDC recommends almost everyone get a flu shot each season. Now is the time to get yours at Premier Health Network in Hyde Park.
- Flu protection can include the shot, nasal sprays, and a special version for adults 65 years and older.
- A flu shot does not protect you from COVID, and a COVID shot does not protect you from flu.
Flu Shots Are Safe
The FDA and CDC closely monitor flu vaccines each year to ensure they are safe, and they have a strong safety record. Americans have safely gotten their flu vaccines for more than 50 years, and there has been extensive research which supports the safety of flu vaccines.