During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to be proactive about reducing the spread of all respiratory illnesses. As people spend more time indoors in fall and winter, the risk of spreading bacteria and viruses increases. A person already battling a respiratory illness can be more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
An older person is particularly at risk for catching the flu because their immune system becomes more compromised with age. Older people are also more likely to have a prolonged and severe course of illness when they do get the flu. In addition, the older population has more chronic lung conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), putting them at higher risk of contracting the flu and the coronavirus.
Flu Season Recommendations from the CDC
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are working hard to ensure that extra flu vaccine is ready this year because of the high-risk conditions of this pandemic. Here are a few tips from the CDC regarding the flu season this year:
- Plan for Increased Risk: It’s likely that we will see an increased risk of influenza-like-illness due to COVID-19. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older getan influenza (flu) vaccine every season with rare exception. This year, 32.4 million doses of the flu vaccine have been distributed, with continued distribution throughout the season.
- Consider the Best Timeline: There is no change in the recommendation for the timing of flu vaccinations this year. September/October is the best time of year to get an annual flu shot. If you aren’t vaccinated at the beginning of the flu season, then getting a flu vaccination any time during the season can still protect you from getting the flu, and lessen the severity of the symptoms if you do contract the virus.
- Understand Your Vaccine Options: Your doctor or pharmacist can offer recommendations about the right dosage and administration for your annual flu shot. Options include standard dose, high-dose for patients 65 and older, nasal spray, and more. Visit this link to see a full list of available flu vaccine options. Vaccines are available in medical offices, most pharmacies, and at community health clinics.
Pandemic Health Practices Can Help
The same health practices for COVID-19 will also protect you against other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu. These precautions should be used in your home, and also encourage family members to be proactive in protecting their health as well:
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet when spending time with others.
- Always wear a mask in public or when in proximity of people outside of your household unit.
- Practice good handwashing habits.
It’s important that you work with healthcare providers to get access to a flu shot without exposing yourself or family members to COVID-19. Call your primary care provider for more information about your options.
At Windward Life Care, we help our clients proactively manage their health. Contact our experienced team to learn more about staying well during COVID-19.