Preparing for Flu Season in the midst of COVID-19
This year, the flu vaccination is going to be even more important with COVID-19 still active in our communities. Symptoms of flu include fever, muscle aches, chills and sweats, headache, dry cough, fatigue, generalized weakness, nasal congestion and a sore throat. These symptoms are very similar to those of COVID-19 - which can also include shortness of breath, abdominal complaints of nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea, rash, loss of taste and smell.
Since both the flu and COVID-19 have very similar symptoms, it is strongly recommended that you try to decrease your risk of flu this year with a flu shot.
Flu shots are recommended for ages six months and up. The vaccination is slightly different each season as it is based on research of current flu viruses that are most prominent with each injection consisting of three to four non-active viruses. Also, it has been known that the flu shot includes egg in it. For those with an allergy to egg, rest assured that there are immunizations now available that do not contain eggs.
Please keep in mind that it is possible to have both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time. We do not yet know how it will affect those who develop both at the same time, however, it is a safe assumption that you could become sicker and have a higher risk for health complications. Those who are over the age of 65, obese, or have other conditions such as heart or respiratory problems or diabetes are especially at risk. The flu on its own can cause serious illness and lead to hospitalization, so it is not something to take lightly.
The CDC recommends that you get the flu vaccine in September or October to be prepared for flu season as it does take a few weeks to build up some immunity.
Please protect yourself by making sure your immunization for flu is up to date. And, continue with good hygiene practices of frequent handwashing, hand sanitizer and wear your mask. It is proven that these steps can help protect you and your loved ones from the flu and COVID-19.
To find out when you last had the flu shot, or to get one, please reach out to your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, you can visit a Sentara walk-in care location and get your flu shot. Find locations at Sentara.com/walkincare.
Source: CDC. (2020, August 7). Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions: 2020-2021 Season. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention