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Why it's more important than ever to get your flu shot

Posted at 6:59 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 20:59:40-04

As we near the fall and winter seasons, medical experts say it’s more important than ever to get your flu shot.

Dr. Amy Khan, Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield says, "It’s important as we think about cold, flu and now COVID season, that it’s going to be difficult, probably, to distinguish the symptoms and what’s causing them."

While flu vaccines aren't foolproof, they are still a good protective measure for your family.

"Flu shots are not going to protect us against COVID-19, but keep in mind that it does reduce illness. It reduces hospitalizations and death from flu," says Khan.

And health officials say that's important right now as we try not to overwhelm our healthcare system, allowing doctors and nurses to continue to help those suffering from Coronavirus. Additionally, it's still unknown how the flu could complicate the fight against COVID-19.

"As we think about COVID on top of the flu, we don’t know what that’s going to look like. We have a suspicion that could be much more complex, and more severe," says Khan.

Deciphering symptoms and determining whether you have the flu, a cold or COVID-19 can be tricky, so Dr. Khan says it's best to take precautions.

"Flu season is coming right up around the corner. It typically starts in October and peaks between December and February. So the best time to get your flu shot is in September or October."

Getting a flu shot is also easy, and accessible at many convenient locations including your doctor's office, drugstore or even a drive thru clinic. The flu vaccine is also inexpensive, and typically fully covered with health insurance. There are even special vaccines available for those over the age of 65 who need more protection during this pandemic.

Kahn says, "There are a couple of different variations of the flu shot this year depending on what your risks might be, and it’s important to talk to your clinician about that...it's really important this year to get your flu shot."