Why It's MORE Important Than Ever to Get A Flu Shot in 2020
Influenza circulates lightly throughout the year, but activity picks up when the weather starts cooling off in late fall and winter. Activity typically peaks between December and February, but can last until May. This period where influenza is most contagious is known as the flu season. Each year the start times vary, so health officials continuously monitor influenza trends to predict when to begin widespread distribution of the seasonal flu shot. The 2020/2021 season started in November and is projected to peak into January and beyond. It was recommended that people receive their flu shot by the end of October as it takes two weeks to develop immunity, but you can get it at any time during the flu season.
Seasonal influenza can cause mild to severe disease, and even death in some high risk patients. Symptoms range from cough (usually dry), sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, runny nose, and malaise. The cough can be severe and last up to two weeks. People at greater risk of severe or fatal disease include adults age 65 and over, individuals living in long-term care facilities, people with comorbidities, pregnant women, and children age 5 and under.
It is more important than ever to get a seasonal flu shot. As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, it is critical to reduce the overall impact of respiratory illnesses on the population and thus, the strain on the healthcare system. The flu is transmitted by coughing and sneezing, and results in similar symptoms to COVID-19. Flu shots help to rule out the possibility of the flu in patients and to reduce flu-related hospital visits where COVID-19 transmission could occur. Make sure to go to a doctor or pharmacist to get your seasonal flu shot today!