Every year, around September, it is reported we should all take the “flu shot”. I am not big on these, but, due to my work environment and age, I did bite the bullet last year and give in. However, 2020 is a new year and the world is a new place for us all. Once again, health officials are calling for everyone to get a flu shot. My initial instinct tells me that in light of all the unknowns with COVID, I might not really want to get the flu shot. However, after researching the topic, I concluded this is not really a good idea. Let’s take a look.
It seems that when COVID entered our world last year, the flu was wrapping up. So, we were not really able to see how the two co-mingled. Experts agree that the two, the flu and the corona virus, are not caused by the same virus. Getting the flu shot will not keep a person from getting corona, but it could potentially keep one from getting both corona and the flu. So then if getting the flu shot can potentially keep you from getting it, why not take it?
There are additional concerns that with both corona and the flu, the hospital systems will be over crowded. Getting a flu shot could help decrease the number of people who have a need to go to the hospital. Another reason to get the flu shot is that the symptoms for the flu are akin to those of the coronavirus. So anyone that presents themselves with these symptoms would need to be tested for corona thus, causing a backlog in the testing.
Did you know the flu shot is recommended for individuals six months or older, with very few exceptions? There have been reports that as one matures, the flu vaccine may not be as effective as when younger, but that does not occur until approximately 80 years of age. The reason for this is a possible compromised immune system. Because of this, a higher dosage may be needed to prepare the immune system.
There are many reasons why people do not get a flu shot. Maybe they do not like needles, maybe they are too busy, maybe they do not believe in the vaccine. So, what does one do? Get a flu shot or not? Although the CDC strongly recommends that everyone get the flu shot, the decision will probably be based on personal beliefs and experiences.
Getting the flu shot is one way we can protect ourselves from a potential dual diagnosis. There are lots of reasons not to get the vaccine, but the knowns, especially this year, seem to outweigh the unknowns.
Resources used in the blog:
Aarp.org, Sept. 2020
Harvard Women’s Health Watch: Dec., 2019