It’s not too late to get the flu shot. In fact, never has it been more important. Here are just five reasons why:
- You never forget the flu. It can be miserable. It can also be deadly. People with flu can experience symptoms such as high fever, severe muscle ache, lack of energy, chills, cough, and congestion. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions. In the 2019-2020 flu season, 39-56 million people got the flu and 29,000-62,000 died.
- It’s an effective vaccine. The vaccine reduces your chance of infection. If you do still catch the flu, the flu shot will likely lower your risk of complications, severe illness, or death. While it’s good to get the flu shot early, you can get the flu vaccine anytime during the flu season, which typically lasts from October through March and sometimes as late as May. In order of cost-effectiveness, the best location to get the flu vaccine is at a local pharmacy such as Walgreens or CVS, followed by a retail clinic, and then the physician’s office.
- You don’t want COVID-19 and the flu at the same time. Both these viruses target your lungs, which means you can get sicker than if you had just one virus alone.
- The flu spreads easily and anyone can get it, including healthy people. Mostly the viruses influenza A and influenza B cause the flu. Both viruses have strains that mutate often, so every year new flu vaccines are released based on which flu strains are currently in circulation. This is why you need to get the flu shot every year.
- It can keep you out of the hospital. Because the flu season coincides with a pandemic, there may not be enough healthcare resources to support a large influx of both flu and COVID-19 patients simultaneously. In the 2019-2020 flu season, 410,000-740,000 flu patients were hospitalized.
The CDC recommends that children over 6 months old and adults should get the flu shot. Flu shots are available at most pharmacy chains, and they’re no cost with most insurance.