Don’t Forget Your Flu Shot!

Flu Shot Note

Like the rest of us, you’re eagerly waiting on a vaccine or cure for COVID-19. It’s hard to say when a working coronavirus vaccine or cure will be available, but it can’t come quickly enough. While you can’t currently prevent COVID-19, a simple vaccination can reduce your risk for one of fall and winter’s contagious respiratory infections: the flu.

Even in normal years, hospitals and emergency rooms can be overwhelmed with patients during the winter months when flu season is at its peak. The influx of flu patients—combined with potential surges in COVID-19 patients—could tap healthcare resources even more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu shot can reduce the number of people in the community impacted by flu, which can reduce the healthcare system’s burden during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The personal risk for developing these respiratory diseases simultaneously this fall and winter is currently unknown. Researchers speculate that having COVID-19 and the flu at the same time may be dangerous, because both illnesses can impact the lungs, and either could lead to pneumonia, respiratory failure or sepsis—all of which are serious complications. And having one condition may weaken the immune system, potentially increasing the risk of complications of the other.

Of course, there’s still a lot we are learning when it comes to COVID-19. Consider this: Until now, the U.S. has never experienced a flu season and a coronavirus pandemic at the same time. Flu season comes in the fall and winter, typically peaking between December and February. So last winter’s flu season was ending just as the pandemic started to flare up across the U.S. in March.

Get That Flu Shot Early

In light of the continuing pandemic, health organizations such as the American Medical Association and the CDC are launching public awareness campaigns to convince people to get their annual flu shot early.

September through October are the ideal times to get the flu vaccine. After vaccination, it takes about two weeks for the body to build the antibodies that offer flu protection, so it’s to your advantage to get the vaccine before flu season starts. However, getting the shot later is better than not getting it at all.

Flu shots are available at your doctor’s office, clinics, local pharmacies and, of course, River’s Edge Express Clinic. Here, you can walk in, get your flu shot and be on your way—all without an appointment. Do your part to stay as healthy as possible during flu season.

River’s Edge Express Clinic offers walk-in care Monday–Friday from 11 a.m.–7:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. We accept most major health insurance plans, as well as cash and credit cards. Call 507-353-2997 to learn more.

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