This fall, COVID-19 and the flu will be epidemic in the United States at the same time, and what happens after that is a bit wildcard. Wearing a mask, washing your hands, and 6 feet away from others to avoid COVID-19 is also a good way to protect yourself from the flu. But some are still flu and COVID-19 is still with us. Will both viruses surge, mix in the emergency room, and put a strain on medical resources when doctors try to take care of everyone?
Doctors and public health professionals are responding with an urgent message because there is no way to predict what will happen in the coming months: Get a flu shot. Even if you haven’t been vaccinated before, get vaccinated this year.
“I usually tell people who haven’t been vaccinated against the flu, Coronavirus This year is another story, “says Dr. Matthew Grant, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Yale University. Doctors are preparing for more illnesses that may occur this season, as the flu alone fills many hospital beds in a normal year. “This year, if we don’t do the right thing, the flu can come at a much greater cost.”
Children also need to be vaccinated, said Dr. Caitlin Hansen, a pediatric infectious disease expert. “I sound like a broken record, but one of the things we know we can do is get a flu shot. This is the best thing in the flu toolbox. . “
What about the next flu season?
Based on reports of low influenza cases in Australia and other countries just below the equator (the virus peaks in winter (our summer)), US public health experts want a milder season I’m out. But no one knows for sure. There are many influenza viruses, and the main viruses are constantly changing.
Vaccine makers are increasing supply and producing well Influenza vaccine Record high of 199,144 to 1,980,000 times. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all adults and children aged 6 months or older be vaccinated in September or October (although the vaccine will be vaccinated until the end of the season in March 2021. Will be available at).
Standard dose shots, high dose shots for people over 65 years old, shots made with virus grown in cell culture (safe for people with egg allergies), and nasal attenuation There are several vaccination options, such as live vaccines Spray (2 to 49 years old).
If you still have doubts, there are five reasons to consider getting the flu vaccine this year.
1. Controls both influenza and COVID-19, helping to avoid potential system expansion
“Influenza can lead to bed shortages in hospitals,” says Dr. Grant, even in years without threats like COVID-19. Yale University has participated in an extensive program on the potential for “colds” that can result from serious outbreaks of both COVID-19 and influenza. Some doctors say that the scenario is to treat all patients first as COVID-19 and isolate them until they are tested and diagnosed.
“It takes a lot of effort to respond to the epidemiology of outbreaks in the community and find the best way to meet the needs of patients,” said Dr. Grant. “A mere 10% increase in the infection rate of either influenza or coronavirus will affect how healthcare professionals respond.”
In addition, avoiding the flu can protect others, says Dr. Grant. He says the flu is transmitted 48 hours before an infected person develops symptoms, so it can be spread to others before you know you have it.
2. Influenza vaccination can reduce symptom confusion
Influenza and COVID-19 share many symptoms. You can always contact your doctor if your symptoms are confusing, but if you’ve been vaccinated against the flu, it’s easy to understand what that means. “There is a lot of overlap,” says Dr. Hansen, and “I think it will be a challenge for us to distinguish between these illnesses. Even after being vaccinated against the flu, someone still has the flu. It’s not that I wasn’t able to get the flu, but knowing if a patient has a pandemic is important information during a pandemic. “
Both viruses can cause a range of mild to severe illnesses. According to the CDC, both influenza and COVID-19 can cause the following symptoms:
- Fever or fever / chills
- Shortness of breath or dyspnea
- sore throat
- Runny nose or stuffy nose
- Muscle and body pain
- Some people can have vomiting and diarrhea, which is more common in children than in adults
However, keep in mind that loss of taste and odor is a symptom of COVID-19 that does not occur with influenza.
3. Greater protection from worst-case scenarios
Preventive measures such as social distance already applied to COVID-19 will help prevent influenza. “We know from years of experience with the flu that there are things that can prevent the infection. Surgical masks, along with hand washing, are the primary mode to reduce the spread of the flu in the hospital,” says Dr. Grant. .. However, influenza vaccines are considered to be the most important tool for preventing influenza and are a strategy for indirectly preventing COVID-19. emergency room.. “The emergency room is where you are at risk of being exposed to the coronavirus,” says Dr. Grant.
Influenza vaccination can also protect people from COVID-19 in other ways. Dr. Grant cannot be sure that doctors will be more likely to get COVID-19 if they get the flu, or vice versa. However, we know that people are more susceptible to bacterial infections when they get the flu. They can’t even say what happens if someone gets infected with both the flu and COVID-19. “We don’t really know, but you might imagine that the two viruses work synergistically and may make you more ill.”
4. Bad flu can be life-threatening
While the COVID-19 illness and mortality statistics are alarming, the number of people seriously affected by the flu alone is also formidable. An estimated 35.5 million people got the flu during the 2018-2019 season. Many had cases that were calm enough to take care of themselves at home. However, according to the CDC, 16.5 million consulted health care providers, 490,600 were hospitalized and 34,200 died. “People who have had the flu before know how bad it is,” says Dr. Grant.
According to the CDC, the flu vaccine prevented an estimated 4.4 million influenza-related illnesses, 2.3 million outpatients, 58,000 hospitalizations, and 3,500 deaths during the same period.
Like COVID-19, older people are at greatest risk of influenza complications, but young and healthy people also get serious illness. “Sometimes we are with a perfectly healthy teenager Young adult Some people need to be ventilated or die because of the flu. That’s very tragic, “says Dr. Grant.
Dr. Hansen further stated: “Younger children may catch a cold and get sick and implant in a hospital or intensive care unit. In other cases, children can get very serious illness. . “”
5. Vaccines help even if they are not 100% effective
It is true that the effectiveness of influenza vaccines varies from year to year. (Studies show that the most effective reduces the risk of influenza by 40-60%.) However, if the vaccine turns out to be one of those who get sick, the flu is mild. Therefore, the possibility of hospitalization is low.
Contrary to what some people think, a flu attack does not give you flu, but some have experienced mild flu-like reactions such as pain and fever. Another myth is Influenza vaccination It can be protected from COVID-19. That’s not possible, but scientists are currently testing more than 35 potential vaccines against the new coronavirus in clinical trials and find one that can be considered safe and effective enough for general use. I’m expecting that.
Where and how to get the flu vaccine may change this year depending on the pandemic. If you’re not sure where to go, contact your doctor or visit the Vaccine Finder, an online tool recommended by the CDC.
Quote: Five Reasons to Get Influenza Vaccination — Especially this year (September 14, 2020) from September 14, 2020 https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-09-flu-shotespecially-year. Obtained from html
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