EDITOR’S VIEW It’s fall … and flu season
These days, my weekly to-do list, specifically chores that require leaving the house, isn’t very lengthy.
Go grocery shopping.
That’s it. That’s really the list.
This week, though, I’ll add one more must-do: Get a flu shot.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is stressing that getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-21 for two reasons:
First, it could protect you from contracting both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. Both are respiratory illnesses that can cause serious complications on their own. Having them together could have catastrophic results.
Second, it could help to reduce the strain on our health care system, which is already busy caring for those with COVID-19.
According to the Mayo Clinic, this year’s flu vaccine will provide protection from three or four influenza strains. Researchers agree that, although the vaccine isn’t 100-percent effective, it is the best way to prevent the flu and its complications.
CDC estimated that in the 2018-19 season, about 35.5 million Americans contracted the flu; nearly 34,000 of them died from it.
Flu shots prevented another 4.4 million cases and about 3,500 deaths, according to the CDC.
It is highly likely that flu and COVID-19 will be circulating at the same time this fall and winter. That they have similar symptoms adds to the stress during these seasons of sickness.
The similarities include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuff nose, body aches and headaches.
COVID-19 has a distinct difference in its loss of taste or smell. That symptom is not related to flu.
In addition, the flu has the likelihood of appearing more suddenly, usually up to four days after infection. The onset of COVID-19 symptoms takes a little more time, up to 14 days after infection.
A flu shot will not protect you from COVID-19. But it could prevent you from having both illnesses at the very same time. Getting a flu shot could keep not only you healthy, but all the people you come in contact with, including your friends and family. Isn’t that worth it, knowing you’re keeping as many people safe as possible?
Many of the people who don’t get a flu shot say it’s because the flu shot contains a live virus. This is simply not true, according to researchers. There’s so much information available to document this. Search CDC, Mayo Clinic and Live Science for the facts. It’s just plain dangerous to spread such an untruth.
It’s also dangerous to possibly put a strain on our health care systems, including the COVID-19 testing sites. Since many of the symptoms for both viruses are similar, those who are feeling ill could travel for testing for the coronavirus. This could lengthen the lines at the testing site as well as the time for test results to come back.
We’re already in the midst of a health crisis, and we face the danger of having two potentially life-threatening viruses in our country at the same time.
One doesn’t yet have a vaccine, so we wear masks, wash our hands often and keep our distance.
The other has a vaccine that can potentially keep you well.
Please add it to your to-do list this week.