Every year Lakes Regional Healthcare and Dickinson County Public Health (DCPH) encourage people to get the annual influenza vaccination, or “flu shot,” and this year may be the most important year to do so. DCPH Director of Population and Public Health Katy Burke, who also serves on Lakes Regional Healthcare’s COVID-19 Task Force, says there are many reasons to get a flu shot.
Second, at a time when people are being vigilant about not getting COVID-19, it’s important to know that the flu can be mistaken for COVID-19 because the symptoms of both are nearly identical. Burke said, “Both are respiratory illnesses and have symptoms of fever, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, sore throat, and cough. If you end up having symptoms, we will encourage you to come in and get tested for both viruses. Becoming immune to one will decrease your chances of having to come in to get tested.”
Third, based on the number of positive cases compared to the US population, your chances of getting the flu are roughly one in seven while your chances of getting COVID-19 are roughly one in 43. However, contracting the flu puts you at increased risk of not recovering from COVID-19, if you do get it. Burke said, “Although at this point it’s easier to get the flu, the flu is not as deadly as coronavirus. Getting a flu shot helps you protect others from getting sick and possibly recovering better if they end up getting COVID-19.”
For more information about the influenza vaccine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2020-2021.htm#:~:text=There%20are%20two%20new%20vaccines,licensed%20trivalent%20high%2Ddose%20vaccine.