It’s Not Too Late to Get Your Flu Shot This Season
Hopefully, you’ve gotten your flu shot by now. But if you haven’t, it’s not too late to get one to protect you and your family this season. Because COVID-19 continues to be a health concern, there’s never been a more important time to get a flu shot. Most Florida Blue members can get a flu shot at no extra cost. Here are some key questions to consider when getting yours.
Q: Can I get the flu from a flu shot?
A: No, you can’t. It takes about two weeks after getting the shot for your body to develop immunity so some people may get the flu during that time period.
Q: How important is it for children to be vaccinated?
A: It truly could save their lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study in 2017 that found the risk of death was reduced by 51% among kids with underlying high-risk medical conditions when they got a flu shot.
Q: Are there specific flu shots for people 65 and older?
A: Yes, and they have proven to be more effective. The “high-dose” vaccine has four times the amount of antigen as a regular flu shot. The second is Fluad, which has an additive that creates a strong immune response. Studies show both also brought on more of the mild side effects, like muscle aches and pain or redness at the injection site.
Q: How long should I wait between getting a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccination?
A: The CDC recommends waiting at least 14 days, if possible. However, if a COVID-19 vaccine is given within two weeks of another vaccine, neither dose needs to be repeated, the CDC says.
Q: How do I know if I have a cold or the flu?
A: The symptoms can be similar, but there are key differences. The flu comes on abruptly and commonly includes fever, body aches, fatigue, and a headache. A cold is a more gradual onset, rarely causes fever and commonly includes sneezing, a stuffy nose and sore throat.
Q: How do I know if I have the flu or COVID-19?
A: There are many shared symptoms between the flu and COVID-19, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and body aches. Patients with COVID-19 may also experience a change in or loss of taste or smell. Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illness, while COVID-19 can cause more serious illnesses in some people.
Q: What is the period of contagiousness for the flu?
A: People with the flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins. Some adults may begin infecting others a day before symptoms develop and up to a week after becoming sick.
Q: What impact does the flu have on people 65 and older?
A: People from that age group certainly bear the biggest burden when it comes to serious flu cases. Statistics say in recent years, that age group has accounted for 70% to 85% of seasonal flu-related deaths and 50% to 70% of the hospitalizations.
Q: How can a flu shot help a pregnant woman and her baby?
A: Getting vaccinated protects both the mother, whose risk of being hospitalized with the flu is reduced by 40% and the baby because the mom passes on antibodies to the infant during the pregnancy.
Q: What impact does the flu have on minority communities?
A: The flu is more likely to require hospitalization for people who are Black, Hispanic or American Indian. The CDC says only 38% of Black residents in Florida got a flu shot last season in Florida, compared to 49.7% of white residents and 44.5% of the state’s total population. Click here to read how trust issues, fear and misperceptions are linked to lower vaccination rates for Black people.
Q: Why isn’t the flu shot good for more than one year?
A: The primary flu viruses often change from year to year, so vaccines are updated to better match those in circulation for that season. Even if the virus is the same, your immune protection declines over time.
Q: What else can I do to prevent spreading the flu virus?
A: Obviously, the flu shot is most important. But other steps include avoiding close contact with people who are sick or if you are sick, stay home when you are sick, cover your mouth, wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Most Florida Blue members get their flu shot at no extra cost when using an in-network doctor or pharmacy, like Publix, Walgreens, Walmart and Winn-Dixie. Some pharmacies give gift cards to people who get a flu shot.
Filed under: Healthy Living