How to Stay Safe Amidst the Return of Flu Season

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that health is precious and the nation’s health care system can buckle under the strain of a pandemic. While COVID-19 proliferated throughout much of the world, the 2020 flu season was noticeably mild due to the implementation of mask wearing, social distancing, and extra hand sanitizing. This makes sense since the coronavirus and influenza are both spread by respiratory droplets. Both illnesses can go undetected until the actual symptoms set in, meaning that you can test positive for the flu, but you may not feel ill until two, three, or even four days later. 

Everyone is vulnerable to the flu, and those with pre-existing health conditions and people over the age of 65 are especially susceptible. Experts say that the optimal time to get a flu shot is late October, though getting a vaccination later in the year is still beneficial. Like most vaccines, the flu shot takes two weeks to be effective. As demonstrated by the various COVID-19 vaccines, getting vaccinated not only protects yourself and your family, but also your coworkers, friends, and the general public. 

The CDC originally recommended spacing out the COVID-19 and flu vaccine by about two weeks to avoid any overlapping symptoms from developing. While people do not typically get sick from either vaccine, if you have any sort of food or egg allergy, you may elect to get either the COVID-19 vaccine or the flu vaccine in a doctor’s office. 

With children being back in the classroom, the flu vaccine is especially important since flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, will most likely prevent the child from attending school and may require a COVID test and/or self-quarantining depending on the school’s policies. 

For additional information on the 2021 flu season, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.htm.