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Don’t forget your flu shot | Health beat

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It’s time again for that annual dose of flu protection. (Taylor Ballek | Spectrum Health Beat)

Do you remember the flu?

It still exists.

And you should still get one Influenza vaccine this season.

“The flu is not gone,” said Russell Lamps, DO, Head of Infectious Diseases Department for Spectrum health. “And like all viruses, it is still looking for susceptible people to become infected.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, been hogging the spotlight of the virus for a year and a half.

And last year, influenza numbers fell to remarkably low levels.

But don’t let that lull you into complacency about the danger of flu viruses.

“The shortage of influenza last winter was a pleasant surprise and a by-product of widespread masking, social distancing, and likely the increase in distance learning,” said Dr. Lamps.

“As we are entering a new autumn season and a new winter season, in which masking is less common and the children are going to school personally again, my concern is that we will have rising influenza rates again.”

Most people recover from influenza infection at home. However, it can lead to serious illness that may require hospitalization.

“It’s important to remember that every year people die from the flu,” said Dr. Lamps. “On average, we will see 25,000 to 35,000 deaths a year (in the US) from influenza.”

Similar symptoms

Every year it is important to get a flu vaccination and to prevent flu. But this year it’s more important than ever.

“Our health systems are currently completely overloaded,” said Dr. Lamps. “Some of them have to do with COVID-19. Some of this is currently only applicable to universal health care.

“But the hospitals are full. We have to do everything we can to keep people healthy and out of the hospital. “

The flu and COVID-19 share many symptoms like cough, runny nose, headache, body aches and fever.

Preventing the flu could reduce the chance that you might have to self-isolate while taking a COVID-19 test, said Dr. Lamps.

Each year, federal health officials are tailoring the flu vaccine to better match the strains of influenza virus that are expected to circulate in the United States

Even if the vaccine doesn’t fit perfectly, doctors say it can still be helpful.

Those who receive the vaccine – and who later get the flu – tend to have less serious illnesses and recover faster.

Some people fear that the flu vaccine could cause flu. But that’s not the case, said Rosemary Olivero, MD, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases with Spectrum Health Helen DeVo’s Children’s Hospital.

Short-term side effects such as: B. an aching arm or tiredness. But that’s just a sign that the immune system is preparing to fight the virus.

“It’s normal and expected – and it’s much better than catching the flu,” said Dr. Olivero.

Thank You For Reading!


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