With the fall and winter months comes flu season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity peaks between December and February, so now’s the time to ensure you’re prepared. Social distancing and mask mandates significantly prevented a “twindemic” last year as the flu season coincided with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Those safety measures helped prevent a majority of flu cases. However, as more states and businesses lift mask mandates and other preventive measures, the flu virus may circulate much more freely than it did last year.
The CDC estimates that 12,000 to 61,000 people die each year from the flu.
Preventing the Flu
The flu vaccine is your best chance of preventing the illness—especially this year. The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for anyone 6 months of age or older.
There are more ways to help protect yourself and others during this flu season. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home when you’re ill. It’s also critical to continue good hygiene by covering your coughs and sneezes and washing your hands.
If you’re unsure about getting a flu vaccine, the CDC shares the following reasons why it’s crucial to get vaccinated amid the pandemic:
- Reduces your risk of getting sick with the flu—The flu vaccine can reduce your risk of having to go to the doctor with the flu by 40% to 60%.
- Reduces your risk of contracting both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time—Battling simultaneous flu and COVID-19 infections are much worse than battling either alone and can require extended hospital
- Reduces strain on the medical system—The flu and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses, so they rely on the same life-saving hospital
Since the flu and coronavirus have similar symptoms, it’s important to get tested if you’re feeling sick. If you’re worried about staying healthy during this flu season, please contact your doctor.