Do you need a flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine?
The flu and COVID-19 are similar enough to cause confusion about vaccines. While the flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, they're caused by different viruses. And their vaccines use different technologies. That’s why health experts urge you to get vaccinated for both conditions.
If you’re thinking the flu isn’t all that bad, think again. The flu can be severe and even lead to death. It usually comes on suddenly. Signs include fever, chills, a cough, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches and fatigue. Vomiting and diarrhea are more likely in children than adults.
Flu viruses spread by droplets from coughs, sneezing and even talking, similar to COVID-19 and its variants. You may infect others before you even know you’re sick. By now, the importance of safe behaviors is well-known. One of the only COVID-19 safety steps not part of flu tips is wearing a mask.
Here are tips to avoid getting or spreading the flu:
- Keep it clean: Wash your hands often with soap or alcohol-based sanitizer. Disinfect high-traffic areas at home and at work.
- Keep your hands away: Avoid touching your face. Germs like to hitchhike on fingers that travel from a germy area to your eyes or mouth.
- Keep your distance: Flu viruses can spread up to 6 feet.
- Keep covered: Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. No tissue? Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
- Keep your immune system strong: Get enough sleep, manage stress, eat healthy foods and stay active.
It is also important to get your flu shot every year. Viruses change, so the best way to fight the latest strain is with the latest vaccine. Flu vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and are available for most people 6 months and older. A flu shot is vital for high-risk groups, including seniors, children and pregnant women. High risk also includes people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, heart disease and diabetes.
Most Florida Blue members can get their flu shot at no-extra cost from an in-network doctor or pharmacy. Many communities plan events to ensure those eligible have access to a flu vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration track the safety of vaccines approved for use in America. It’s your best shot at avoiding the flu this season.
And don't forget your COVID-19 vaccine if you’re not already fully vaccinated. Pfizer and Moderna are two-shot vaccines, and Johnson & Johnson is one shot. There is also a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot available.
Filed under: Healthy Living