7 Reasons to Get Your Flu Shot

September 14, 2020

Mark L. Friedman, MD, FACEP, FACP

We’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with flu season fast approaching. And, yes, you can get both flu and COVID-19.

This is bad news — but there’s good news, too: The flu is well studied and, unlike COVID-19, we have vaccines to prevent it.

That’s right: you can stop the flu in its tracks! Here are 7 great reasons you should get your flu vaccine:

1. The flu is a serious — even life-threatening — illness. It caused more than 60,000 deaths and at least 410,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. last year.

2. One shot protects against multiple strains of flu. The seasonal flu vaccine is tailored every year to protect against the 4 most likely strains of flu in circulation, based on global tracking of the virus. 

3. The flu can look a lot like COVID-19. Some flu symptoms are similar to those of COVID-19, meaning doctors must test to know which illness you have. If you’ve had a flu shot, doctors can be more certain your symptoms are not from the flu.

4. Getting the flu puts you at higher risk for serious illnesses. If you get the flu, not only are you at higher risk for COVID-19, you are also at higher risk for pneumonia or another serious lung disease. And people with underlying illnesses are at still higher risk for a more serious case of the flu.

5. Medical resources are stretched these days. COVID-19 is already overwhelming hospitals and doctors. A serious flu epidemic could be the “last straw,” particularly since it’s also possible to get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

6. A flu shot can save you from germy waiting rooms. A 2017-2018 study found that the flu vaccine prevented an estimated 91,000 flu-related hospitalizations. And if you do get sick, remember: First Stop Health telemedicine is here to help! In fact, it allowed 94% of First Stop Health patients with flu symptoms in the 2019-2020 flu season to avoid in-person care.

7. When most of us get our flu shot, we achieve herd immunity. A small minority of people cannot get a flu shot because they’re too young or have serious health conditions that prevent their getting vaccinated. But when everyone else gets one, that limits the chance of the flu spreading to those more vulnerable people. Encourage your family, friends and co-workers to get vaccinated. When more people get vaccinated, more people stay safe.


So, what should you do next?

Book your flu vaccination today! Find a location near you to get your shot or nasal spray.

If you’re having symptoms that suggest flu or COVID-19 — such as fever, chills, cough, trouble breathing, fatigue, or aches and pains — stay home, and call a doctor via First Stop Health telemedicine.


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Originally published Sep 14, 2020 4:09:55 PM.