Covid-19 has been the largest well being concern of 2020, however one other virus — the flu — is not going wherever.
Although you may get the flu throughout any time of 12 months, flu season within the U.S. occurs through the fall and winter months — often reaching its peak between December and March. Getting a flu shot this 12 months might assist minimize down on the potential results of a “twindemic,” which may occur if a Covid-19 surge and a extreme flu season overlap.
With that in thoughts, you may be questioning if the pandemic adjustments any of the standard flu vaccine tips — and if getting a second dose will enhance immunity. Under, well being consultants weigh in:
Ought to I get two flu pictures this 12 months?
The brief reply is not any.
Flu shot suggestions stay the identical, and until you might be below 9 years previous and have by no means gotten a flu shot earlier than, a second dose is just not really useful, says Dr. Kelly Moore, affiliate director for immunization training on the Immunization Motion Coalition.
Youngsters ages six months by way of eight years who’ve by no means been vaccinated in opposition to the flu profit from two doses the primary season they get the vaccine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
“In case your immune system has by no means seen influenza earlier than and also you’re getting the vaccine for the primary time, your immune system would not fairly know what to do with that,” Dr. Moore tells CNBC Make It. “It learns, but it surely would not study fairly nicely sufficient, and it wants that second dose to essentially mount a protecting response.”
Nevertheless, previous the age of eight, only one yearly dose will do.
“If you’re older and you have had flu vaccines earlier than, otherwise you’ve had influenza earlier than, then your immune system responds fairly rapidly to 1 dose of vaccine,” Dr. Moore explains. “We don’t see a noticeable benefit from getting a number of doses of the vaccine.
Different vaccines — similar to measles, chickenpox and hepatitis — require two doses, which might be complicated, Moore provides.
“Folks might imagine, ‘If one is sweet, two should be higher,’ however in actuality, that is not how our immune system works,” she says. “And whereas that’s the case for sure vaccines and sure viruses, it is not the case for the influenza vaccine.”
What are the flu shot tips?
The flu vaccine works by presenting the immune system with a portion of the virus, permitting the physique to develop an immune response in order that when it encounters the true factor, it is a lot better ready to struggle it off.
In accordance with the CDC, it is strongly recommended that everybody over the age of six months will get vaccinated in opposition to the flu yearly, with very uncommon exception (similar to these with a severe allergy to the flu vaccine or an ingredient in it).
Whereas getting the vaccine doesn’t assure that you simply will not endure the distress that’s the flu, it could reduce the risk of infection by 40% to 60%, and assist stop extreme sickness.
When ought to I get my flu shot?
Although the precise timing of flu season varies 12 months to 12 months, infections usually begin to ramp up round October. One of the best time to get your flu shot is within the early fall, ideally earlier than the tip of October.
“However if you happen to miss that deadline, then get it as quickly as you possibly can afterward,” Dr. Moore says. “There is not any level at which it is too late to get your influenza vaccine.”
Why is it particularly essential to get a flu shot this 12 months?
Till a Covid-19 vaccine is accredited, flu vaccinations are among the many handiest methods to make sure that hospitals can climate the pandemic, in line with Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar on the Johns Hopkins College Heart for Well being Safety.
The flu sends hundreds of thousands of Americans to the hospital and causes tens of 1000’s of deaths yearly. Even throughout a standard season, hospitals typically turn into inundated with sufferers, Dr. Adalja says.
“Each the flu and the coronavirus are going to be competing for a similar emergency division beds, the identical hospital beds, the identical ICU beds, the identical mechanical ventilators, the identical private protecting tools and even the identical diagnostic check [materials],” Dr. Adalja tells CNBC Make It. “The extra we will lower the burden of influenza, the extra room we’ll need to deal with Covid-19 sufferers.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Ailments, has additionally insisted that individuals get the shot, “so that you could at least blunt the effect of one of these two potential respiratory infections.”
If we sustain all of the habits we have realized to guard ourselves from Covid-19 — like regularly washing our palms, social distancing and carrying masks — on prime of getting the flu shot, Dr. Moore provides, we will hopefully have a a lot milder flu season this 12 months.
Do not miss: