coronavirus pandemic

Here's Why You Shouldn't Skip Your Flu Shot This Year

Consumer Reports looked at why it's still important to get your flu shot during the pandemic

NBC Universal, Inc.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to do everything possible to reduce the spread of influenza by getting a flu shot. Consumer Reports says there are ways to do it safely. 

Because there isn’t an approved vaccine against COVID-19 yet, health experts are recommending with even more urgency than usual that people get a flu shot this season. It won’t reduce your risk of getting COVID-19, but it will cut your risk of getting the flu. And even if you do get the flu, you’re less likely to become very sick or need to be hospitalized after getting a flu shot.

San Diego county reported 13 confirmed influenza cases this season, which is quite a bit lower than the same time in recent years. One reason for that is because the same measures to fight the spread of COVID-19 also help prevent the spread of the flu.

Health experts indicate that diagnostic testing can help determine if you’re sick with the flu or COVID-19. Even if your flu test is positive, that doesn’t rule out the possibility that you could be infected with COVID-19 simultaneously.

The flu shot takes about two weeks to become fully effective, and you want to be protected before the season begins to ramp up. It’s the same for your kids. If they’re 6 months of age or older, they should get the flu shot sooner rather than later.

San Diego county's Influenza data shows a surge of people got the flu shot in September, at least one or two weeks earlier than the usual surge in October.

You can get a flu shot at your local pharmacy in just a few minutes. Doctor’s offices and health clinics are doing various things to make sure that getting a flu shot there is safe, too. There might be drive-up clinics or special hours just for flu shots. But be sure to call ahead.

If you experience any symptoms of a respiratory virus, don’t hesitate to call your doctor. And if you have a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, get your doctor’s OK before you get a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people who could still potentially transmit COVID-19 wait until they’re no longer contagious before seeking out a flu vaccine.

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