Get Vaccinated So You Don’t Have to Ask: Is it the Flu or is it COVID-19?

Get Vaccinated So You Don’t Have to Ask: Is it the Flu or is it COVID-19?

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“I’d like double shots please!”
 
For those who are eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccine and have not gotten vaccinated yet, now is your chance to say, “I’d like double shots please!” Dr.  Fauci reported on CNN recently that it is safe to get both the Flu shot and a Covid-19 vaccination, or booster shot at the same time.

So, if you have not yet done so, take your shot, a double shot if needed, one in each arm!
 
Last year’s flu season was very mild largely due pandemic precautions such as masking, physical distancing and staying home. Only 0.2% tests for the flu were positive compared with 26.2% - 30.3% in the three years prior to the pandemic. This is the lowest rate of influenza since the data collection began in 2005.
 
Now that schools are re-opening, public gatherings are larger, even indoors, people are not masking in some circumstances, and the delta variant is causing 98% of the COVID infections in the USA, experts are concerned that there may be a “twindemic” of flu and covid increases at the same time. Americans may have a weakened natural immune defense against flu viruses due to the low rates of influenza last year.
 
Our hospitals are burdened with many people ill from the pandemic. People over 65 years of age and those with chronic illness such as heart disease asthma, diabetes, weakened immune systems, obesity, and young children and pregnant women are at greater risk for complications from the flu and Covid-19. Now, more than ever, it is important to get your flu shot as well as the Coronavirus vaccine and/or booster when you are eligible.  

The CDC recommends flu vaccination for everyone over 6 months of age by the end of October unless contraindicated by a physician. If you have severe allergies to eggs, a severe previous reaction to a flu shot or history of Guillian-Barre syndrome speak with your healthcare provider, there may be a flu vaccine that is suitable for you.

Bernard Camins, MD, infectious disease physician at New York City-based Mount Sinai Health System, told NPR: 'You could get the flu and need care but find hospitals overwhelmed because of COVID, or get the flu and get COVID. And especially if you are not vaccinated against the coronavirus, [you] run the risk of your immune system being overwhelmed by two viruses at the same time.' 
"Back-to-back infections may lead to more serious illness if the first infection weakens the lungs', Priya Nori, MD, infectious disease specialist at New York City-based Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told NPR."
 
Let’s work together to make sure the dual pandemic doesn’t happen. Protect yourself and protect others. Flu prevention is like COVID prevention: Get vaccinated, wash your hands and keep them away from your face, cover your cough or sneeze with a clean tissue and throw it away - then wash your hands again, Stay away from people who are sick and use medication as instructed by your healthcare provider. If you get sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
 
Remain vigilant, protect those you love, protect the neighbor and the stranger, get vaccinated and wear a mask.
Resources for more information:
 
Why skipping flu shot amid pandemic is risky — 8 things to know about upcoming flu season Gabrielle Masson - Thursday, September 23rd, 2021
 
NIH Directors Blog September 28, 2021 If you are eligible, get your COVID Booster shot

Yale New Haven Health Symptom Comparison: Allergies, Cold, Flu, COVID-19
 
CDC Flu and You this is an easy guide with pictures to answer questions about the Flu.
 
Take three Actions to Fight the Flu

Author

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Deborah Ringen

Deborah Ringen MSN, RN-BC is a Faith Community Nurse and the Minister of Health and Wellness for the Southern New England Conference, UCC.

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