Though we know that the flu vaccine has prevented millions of flu-related illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year, we know that only approximately 45.3% of adult patients received their flu vaccine during the 2018-2019 flu season. In fact, the CDC has reported that flu vaccination prevented an estimated 6.2 million influenza illnesses and 3.2 million influenza-associated medical visits during the 2017-2018 season. In case you need a reminder, here are some of the top reasons why deputy medical director and infectious disease specialist, Dr. Sandra Kesh, wants more people to get their flu vaccine this year.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
Chances are, you will either have a more mild version of the flu, or you may not get sick at all, if you have had the flu vaccine. COVID-19 symptoms and flu symptoms often overlap and it can be difficult for patients to assess their own symptoms. The reality is that COVID-19 is not going to go away, especially during this upcoming cold and flu season. If you are exhibiting COVID-like symptoms, there is a good chance, doctors will treat you as a “suspected case” of COVID-19, until tests reveal otherwise. Your best bet is to reduce the chances of getting sick altogether so you don’t have to go through rigorous testing and an unnecessary quarantine period while you await test results.
There is no COVID-19 vaccine
There is a chance during cold and flu season that you could be exposed to flu and COVID-19. You could run the risk of getting both illnesses back to back, or even at the same time. Why not give your immune system a boost and stay out of the hospital? The flu vaccine was estimated to prevent almost 91,000 flu related hospitalizations in 2017-2018.
Protect More Vulnerable People
By getting the flu vaccine, you can prevent getting the flu altogether, which means that you won’t be spreading the virus to others. Combine that with effective mask-wearing practices, good handwashing and social distancing, and you will really help to minimize the spread of flu viruses AND COVID-19. This will help those who are most vulnerable to the virus such as infants, children, those with chronic conditions and the senior population.
The good news is that NY State and Connecticut have managed to contain the COVID-19 virus and significantly reduce the number of cases in the community. The practices we have in place right now will likely go a long way to protect others from COVID-19, and many other viruses such as the flu.
Westmed’s new Flu Clinics are now open and accepting appointments. Westmed patients can also get their flu vacinne at an annual visit with your PCP.