Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines have been a hot topic. From the development to the distribution, everyone has been talking about the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccines. But what about your yearly flu shot? As COVID-19 cases rise and fall, flu shots are more important than ever. The fact is, a flu shot has other benefits in a pandemic world outside of just protecting you from the flu
The Flu and COVID-19
Because of increased cautions with COVID-19, the CDC stated that the 2020-2021 flu season had fewer cases than previous years. Accordingly, the number of flu-related deaths dropped drastically in 2020. Since the flu is transmitted the same way, through the air and close contact, it is not surprising that flu cases fell this year with masks mandates, quarantines, and social distancing. Reports are showing that the number of cases during the 2020-2021 flu season are looking closer to that of the summer flu, rather than that of the regular seasonal flu.
There is a downside to the existence of so few flu cases this past season. Fewer people have built up immunity to the flu by catching mild cases. Your body remembers how to fight the flu on its own. This helps year over year since a certain segment of the population has some of the immunity leftover from the previous year. Because of this, health officials the world over are strongly recommending people be sure to get their flu vaccines this year.
Benefits of Flu Shots
There are many benefits to getting a flu shot each year, here are just a few:
- Pre-pandemic the flu was one of the deadliest viruses in the world. By getting the flu shot annually you are not only protecting yourself, but everyone around you. The flu is highly contagious and getting the shot decreases your risk of catching and spreading the virus.
- The more people who get the flu shot, the greater the herd immunity. By getting the flu shot and being part of herd immunity, you are helping keep those who cannot get the shot stay safe. There is a variety of reasons someone may not be able to get the shot and they rely on others getting the shot to stay healthy.
Flu Shots Do Not Cause the Flu
- While the flu shot may make your arm hurt for a day or two after, there is no risk of you catching the flu from the shot. If you feel slightly feverish or sore it is from your immune system learning how to fight the virus, so that when the real virus shows up your immune system knows how to fight it.
- Since there are many different strains of the flu it is possible that the shot will not protect against the strain that you encounter. The good news is though that even if you do catch the flu, you are less likely to experience more severe symptoms of the virus.
- COVID-19 precautions helped to reduce the number of flu cases this past year, but those precautions will probably not be as widely used by the general population this flu season. As a result, medical professionals expect to see a higher number of flu cases as life starts to return to the pre-pandemic state. There are many benefits to getting an annual flu shot, but by getting yours, you can help yourself and others stay healthy this flu season.
As the world continues to operate in a pandemic it is important to take care of yourself and those around you. Your health matters and taking simple steps like getting your yearly flu shot can help you stay healthy and happy.
Interested in protecting your employees this flu season? Contact the team at OnSite Health to learn more about our onsite nursing program, vaccination clinics, health screenings, and more!