In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, coronavirus vaccines, and now the news of COVID-19 booster shots, it can be easy to forget about all of the other vaccine preventable illnesses lurking around the corner. But, one thing that is always certain as summer turns into fall is the return of the seasonal flu. Fortunately for us, doctors, scientists and medical experts never forget about flu season and develop an updated flu vaccine each and every year to protect the population. Now, it’s our turn to do our part to fight the flu.
It should come as no surprise that the number one way to fight the flu is by getting the seasonal flu vaccine.
Why? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children.”
Medical experts unanimously agree that it’s best to get the seasonal flu shot early, before flu season hits its peak. This is because, much like with the available COVID-19 vaccines, it takes time for flu vaccines to take full effect and provide optimal antibody levels. It typically takes at least two weeks for antibodies to fully develop in the body after getting the flu vaccine, according to the CDC. These antibodies then provide protection against infection from the flu. Each year, different strains of the flu emerge, which is why it’s imperative to get vaccinated against the flu yearly.
“Other than getting the COVID-19 vaccination, choosing to get a flu shot this year is one of the most important health decisions we can make for ourselves and our community,” says STChealth’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Kyle Freese, PhD, MPH.
“The widely-circulating Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) has already strained many healthcare systems around the country. As hospitals become overwhelmed, the quality of care decreases, which can lead to more preventable morbidity and mortality. If we have overlapping COVID-19 and flu outbreaks this winter, hospitals will likely be stressed to their limits. By getting a flu shot, we are reducing our individual risk of illness as well as helping hospitals and healthcare providers maintain quality care for the sickest patients.”
MyIR Mobile provides easy and free access to you and your family’s immunization records, as well as reminders for upcoming or past-due immunizations. For more information about the flu vaccine and seasonal flu, check out this facts sheet by the CDC.