Staying healthy during flu season
2/1/2021 by Robert M. Jacobson, M.D.
A lot of what is being done to prevent the spread of COVID-19 helps prevent the flu. But is that enough?
When you think of preventing COVID-19 infection, you likely think of:
- Masking the nose and mouth when away from home and inside other buildings, as well as outdoors when social distancing may not be possible.
- Social distancing by at least 6 feet when with others outside your household.
- Avoiding crowds.
Add getting vaccinated for COVID-19 to that list. You should be vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as the vaccine is available to you.
While COVID-19 has killed 10 times more people than the flu, the flu still needs to be prevented. Flu cases will still be seen this year because children less than 2 cannot wear masks. Most flu outbreaks start with children.
So that means you still need to be vaccinated for flu every year, even during this pandemic. If you haven't already been vaccinated for flu, it is not too late. In Minnesota, flu outbreaks can occur through winter and into spring, even extending to May and June. While it is best to be vaccinated before flu season starts, getting vaccinated for the flu now is better than putting it off.
Contact your health care provider now. Make an appointment and get vaccinated for the flu.
Robert M. Jacobson, M.D., is a pediatrician in Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson's Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine and medical director of the Primary Care Immunization program.