Experts predict a second wave of COVID-19 this winter; some countries in Europe are already experiencing a new spike in cases. We wash hands, wear masks, and social distance to defend ourselves. When it comes to influenza, however, there’s an additional weapon in our arsenal: the flu shot.
The Bad News
Listen up: you can have both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. The symptoms for each are nearly identical, so the CDC has developed a test that looks for both in one sample. A flu vaccine defends against the flu, but doesn’t protect against, or increase the risk for, COVID-19. They’re different viruses.
What’s So Bad About Getting The Flu?
If you have to ask, you haven’t had it. Influenza can kill you directly by causing severe inflammation in your lungs, heart, or brain. While your body fights it, you’re prone to secondary infections like sinusitis, pneumonia, and sepsis. Older people and those with chronic health conditions or cancer are at increased risk for complications.
Flu symptoms–aches, cough, fever, and pain–are the result of your body’s own immune response. It may be saving you, but it makes you feel like death warmed over and can keep you bedridden for a week or two.
The Good News
It is not scientifically possible to contract the flu from a flu shot. Vaccines are made from inactive viruses or one single viral protein. Your immune system reacts by developing antibodies that identify and destroy the virus the next time you’re exposed.
When some people say they “got sick” after the shot, either they’d already contracted the flu but didn’t yet have symptoms (incubation is from 1-4 days), or they experienced a very mild version of immune system reaction which subsides quickly.
It’s 2020, People
You know the year we’ve all had. Flu shots reduce the risk of illness, hospitalization, and death. If you still get the virus, you won’t be as ill as you would be without the shot. You’ll save health care resources for patients with COVID-19 if there’s a resurgence. Remove severe flu from your list of unexpected events in 2020 and get inoculated.
Get the vaccine in early fall, preferably by the end of October. After two weeks you’ll have preventative antibodies. Check the CDC vaccine finder for variations, including egg-free for those with allergies.
If the advice above has you looking for a convenient way to get a flu shot for yourself and your family, contact us at (317) 468-6245. We have plenty of easy, affordable options.
Sources and External Links
Experts project autumn surge in coronavirus cases, with a peak after Election Dayhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/health/coronavirus-fall-projections-second-wave/2020/09/04/6edb3392-ed61-11ea-99a1-71343d03bc29_story.html
Coronavirus second wave: Which countries in Europe are experiencing a fresh spike in COVID-19 cases?https://www.euronews.com/2020/10/05/is-europe-having-a-covid-19-second-wave-country-by-country-breakdown
CDC’s Diagnostic Multiplex Assay for Flu andCOVID-19 at Public Health Laboratories and Supplieshttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/multiplex.html
Can You Die from the Flu?https://www.healthline.com/health/can-you-die-from-the-flu#how
What Are Flu Complications?https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-complications#1
All About the Flu and How to Prevent Ithttps://www.nia.nih.gov/health/all-about-flu-and-how-prevent-it
The Link Between the Flu, Secondary Infections, and Sepsishttps://www.biomerieuxconnection.com/2020/09/15/the-link-between-the-flu-secondary-infections-and-sepsis/
What the flu does to your body, and why it makes you feel so awfulhttps://theconversation.com/what-the-flu-does-to-your-body-and-why-it-makes-you-feel-so-awful-91530
Can You Get the Flu From a Flu Shot?https://www.verywellhealth.com/can-you-get-the-flu-from-a-flu-shot-770487
What are antibodies?https://www.livescience.com/antibodies.html
What are the benefits of flu vaccination?https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccine-benefits.htm