Because of the current Covid-19 pandemic, many people have had a decrease in routine medical visits due to preference to stay home or shelter-in-place orders. However, it is vitally important for patients to stay up-to-date on their routine vaccinations to help prevent outbreaks and illness related to these vaccine-preventable diseases. Regular vaccinations can help prevent unnecessary medical or hospital visits, which can further strain the healthcare system, especially during a pandemic. One very important vaccine to obtain this fall is the annual flu vaccine, which is now available at most medical offices, clinics and pharmacies.

Getting your flu shot can provide several health benefits. Of course, one of those benefits is helping you not get the flu at all. Those who have had the flu vaccine and still somehow get the flu are very likely to have a less severe illness and are much less likely to be hospitalized for severe flu symptoms. The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce your risk of going to the doctor during cold/flu season by up to 60%. Further, getting the flu vaccine has been shown to reduce pediatric hospital admissions related to flu illness by up to 74%, and up to 60% in older adults. The flu vaccine is especially important in patients with other chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, chronic lung disease, and diabetes. Getting vaccinated can also protect others around you, such as young children, babies, older people, and those with other chronic health issues.

With a few exceptions, everyone ages 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine. Furthermore, the flu vaccine has been proven to be safe for people with an egg allergy. The flu shot is more important than ever this year, because it can help reduce the health care burden in your region and reduce visits to the ER, hospital, or doctor’s office for flu-related respiratory problems. During the current Covid-19 pandemic, this is even more important as there are a lot of similar symptoms shared between Covid-19 and influenza.