Flu Vaccinations Even More Important This Year
It’s a familiar refrain when flu season rolls around: cover your cough; wash your hands and stay home if you feel sick. This year, thanks to COVID-19, every American is already familiar with those infection prevention strategies and more—like wearing a mask and practicing social distance around others.
Most people follow public health advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but there are still many who continue to ignore the warnings. And as flu season approaches, taking precautions to prevent illness is more important than ever.
“This year more than ever, we should all be aware of what we can do to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like influenza and COVID-19,” said Raj Govindaiah, MD, and chief medical officer of Memorial Health System. “This year everyone should get a flu shot, continue to wear a mask, wash your hands, socially distance and stay home if you are sick.”
Although influenza activity occurs year-round, infections increase in fall and winter—usually between October and May in the United States (northern hemisphere) and March through August in the southern hemisphere. Scientists observe flu activity across the globe and determine most common flu viruses in the southern hemisphere during their flu season to project which ones will occur in the northern hemisphere. That is how they determine which influenza viruses to protect against in the flu vaccine each year.
“Prevention efforts related to the pandemic in the southern hemisphere in countries like Australia have resulted in a significant decrease in flu activity,” said Govindaiah. “Vaccines for COVID-19 are still under development, but you can get a flu vaccine right now. The simplest way to prevent the spread of influenza is to never get it in the first place, which is why I encourage everyone to get the flu vaccination now, and to continue to take steps to prevent the spread of illness.”
Need a flu vaccine?
Flu vaccines are available at local pharmacies and health organizations or by an appointment with your primary care provider.
If you are a current patient of DMH Medical Group or Memorial Physician Services, visit one of these upcoming drive-thru flu clinics: