Getting a flu shot even more important this year amid COVID-19 pandemic
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic makes getting a flu shot more important than ever this year. By taking this simple step, area residents can help protect themselves from the flu – and help prevent the region’s health care system from becoming overburdened.
As part of its Safe in Our Care initiative, Tidelands Health encourages those ages six months and older to get a flu shot each year. To have the best protection throughout flu season, individuals should get the shot by the end of October.
While a flu shot does not protect an individual from contracting COVID-19, it reduces the risk of getting the flu and can help lessen the severity of the flu if you do still contract the flu virus. Getting a flu shot also reduces the risk of flu-associated hospitalization.
“I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to get the flu shot this year,” said Dr. William Epperson, medical director of primary care at Tidelands Health. “With our country and community still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s crucial for all of us to take simple steps to protect ourselves as much as we can from respiratory illness. A flu shot can truly make a difference.”
Flu shots are readily available at Tidelands Health Family Medicine locations. To schedule an appointment for a flu shot, call 1-866-TIDELANDS.
Flu season is always a busy time for Tidelands Health hospitals and care locations. If COVID-19 cases spike again in the community, the combined impact of the viruses could put a strain on health care resources.
“Help us help you,” Dr. Epperson said. “Get the flu shot so you cut your chances of ending up in our hospitals because of the flu.”
Getting a flu shot not only protects the individual who receives it, but it can also protect individuals who are more vulnerable to severe illness by reducing the number of flu cases overall and the virus’ spread among families and in communities.
“We applaud those who get a flu shot every year,” Dr. Epperson said. “And if you never get the flu shot, now is the time to start.”
The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. They can share similar symptoms, including fever, running nose and fatigue, and range from mild cases to hospitalization and death.
While a flu shot is quick, simple and readily available, a vaccine for COVID-19 is still in development.
Tidelands Health continues to encourage community members to wear a face mask in public, practice social distancing, avoid large crowds and frequently wash your hands to limit the spread of both COVID-19 and the flu.