BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Doctors are urging people not to delay getting the flu vaccine especially at a time when COVID cases are still high.
Dr. Anamika Tandon is a Primary Care Physician with Northwest Health. She says your first line of defense to protect yourself from getting the flu is by getting the vaccine.
Dr. Tandon says it is safe to get both the flu vaccine and COVID19 shot adding you can actually get both shots on the same day.
Although you can get the flu all year round it is more common in the fall and winter months. She says September and October are good months to get your flu shot so you’re fully protected by the time flu activity kicks into high gear.
She says most people who get the flu have mild cases like coughing, chills, headaches and mild fever. However, it can be pretty serious.
“What we really worry about is if you get a co-infection off COVID-19 and flu at the same time. Flu itself can lead to severe pneumonia enough that it can put people in the hospital especially people who are in the high-risk category, kids who are under 2 years of age, and those 65 and older,” said Dr. Tandon.
She says the big concern with both COVID and the flu is they are respiratory illnesses that attack the lung and can lead to serious complications.
She adds that people with chronic medical conditions like diabetes, asthma, or severe liver disease are also more likely to have complications from the flu.
Getting the flu shot drastically reduces your chances of getting sick. If you do get sick, your chances of ending up in the hospital with severe illness are much lower.
Now if you are having some mild symptoms like coughing, sneezing for example you can stay home and monitor your symptoms. However high-grade fever, consistent pressure in your chest or seizures then you should get to a doctor.
“Studies have shown that starting antiviral medicine within two days of symptoms onset in those cases can drastically reduce your risk of getting flu-related complications,” said Dr. Tandon.
You can reduce the spread of germs by washing your hands often, keeping your hands out of your face, covering your mouth and nose when you cough. She adds to stay home and away from other people when you’re sick.