With flu season now among us (fall and winter), the question now is should you or should you not get the flu vaccine? Although the flu vaccine will not protect you from developing COVID-19, it could actually benefit those who might.
Although the flu isn’t as drastic as the coronavirus, it does have the potential to be deadly. In the United States, 38 million people became ill with the flu during the 2019-2020 flu season. Out of those 38 million people, 22,000 died. The World Health Organization estimated that 290,000 to 650,000 people die from flu-related symptoms every year.
It is possible to have the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, according to the CDC. Getting the flu vaccine could help reduce that chance while helping the healthcare system by conserving scarce medical resources needed to treat those with COVID-19.
The flu and COVID-19 can share similar symptoms such as a cough, fever and fatigue. With that, it’s important to get tested for the coronavirus just to be safe. The main symptom that will help you differentiate between the flu and the coronavirus, is a shortness of breath and a change in or loss of taste and smell.
A person typically develops symptoms within 1 to 4 days after being infected with the flu. Whereas it can take longer for a person infected with COVID-19 to develop and experience symptoms. A person can develop COVID-19 symptoms as soon as 2 days or as late as 14 days.
COVID-19 is more contagious than the flu and has been observed to have more super-spreading events than the flu. It’s important to maintain some of the practices COVID-19 has highlighted such as washing your hands, avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth and social distance especially if you know if someone is ill.
Many pharmacies offer the flu vaccine and label it free under most insurances. Pharmacies inside of stores like Target or Publix offer the flu shot, and in return you receive a 5 to 10 dollar store coupon or gift card.
According to the CDC anyone 6 months and older should get their flu vaccine to help reduce the chances of them becoming ill during flu season.
Sources: The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention and The World Health Organization