As discussed by Dr. Page this morning, the flu season is approaching and now is the time to get your flu shot. Getting a flu shot has always been a key step in staying healthy, but during the COVID-19 pandemic it’s even more important to protect yourself, your family and your friends.
Common symptoms of COVID-19- such as fever, cough, congestion and difficulty breathing – are similar to the symptoms of the flu. Receiving a flu shot decreases your chances of getting the flu or makes an infection with the flu less severe. At the same time, keeping people healthy and out of hospitals for flu treatment supports our community by preserving our capacity to provide hospital care for those with COVID-19.
The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older receive a flu shot, unless they have a medical reason not to do so. Those recommendations can be found online here.
Flu viruses typically circulate from late fall through early spring. While most people who become ill with the flu recover without serious complications, the flu can be associated with serious illnesses that require hospitalization. Those who are particularly vulnerable to the flu, including older adults, very young children, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions.
The cautionary steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as keeping social distance, wearing masks in public and washing hands, also help in warding off the flu virus. Please continue to take those steps, knowing that they can protects you from both COVID and the flu.
Flu shots are widely available at urgent care centers, doctors’ offices and through many of our employers. Flu vaccines will also be available for free at all St. Louis County Department of Public Health clinical locations. As a drive up service, flu shots will be given at John C. Murphy Health Center in Berkeley and the South County Health Center and at other pop-up events across the county starting in late September.
By the end of this week, flu shot appointments can be made online at stlcorona.com. Click on the testing link to get started.