It is possible that both the flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter season. We are all aware of ways to protect ourselves from COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, washing our hands, and maintaining a social distance of six feet or more from peers outside of our households. All of these are also good measures to prevent the flu, but there is one even better: the flu shot.
While getting the flu shot will not protect you against COVID-19, there are many important benefits to getting the vaccine this year. Retirement community Park View Estates in Fountain Valley, California shares why getting the flu shot this year is far more important than years previous.
The flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor visits. According to the CDC, the 2018-2019 flu vaccination prevented an estimated 4.4 million influenza cases. This one is obvious, right? We all know that by getting the flu shot, we are protecting ourselves from getting the predicted strains of the influenza virus that are going to be the most widely spread, but this goes beyond just that. By reducing your risk of contracting the flu, you are also reducing the risk of hospitalization, which directly reduces your risk of contracting other viruses, such as the one that causes COVID-19.
By getting a flu vaccine and preventing yourself from having to go to the doctor and/or hospital for an emergency room visit or hospital stay, you are saving healthcare resources such as medical supplies, hospital beds and rooms, and medical workers’ time and energy. This allows them to put all their focus into caring for others, including COVID-19-related patients.
If you’ve never heard of herd immunity, here is your crash course. For a vaccine to be effective for an entire community (rather than for a single individual), herd immunity must be present. Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease (which occurs when you get a vaccine). This means that the spread of the virus is much more difficult as more become immune simply because the virus cannot find a new host who is not immune and dies within its current host. In simpler terms, if you cannot serve as a host for the flu, you cannot spread it to others. As a result, the whole community becomes protected, even those who have not gotten the flu shot. As it relates to the flu, the more people who get the flu vaccine, the larger the “herd” becomes, and the vaccine, therefore, protects everyone in the community.
When you get your flu vaccine, you are protecting yourself from what scientists believe will be the most prevalent strains of the influenza virus in our community for this year’s flu season. If you do not get the flu shot, and you end up contracting the flu, you are consequently lowering your immune resistance since your body now has to battle the flu in addition to protecting you from the germs you come in contact with in daily life. This leaves your body susceptible to contracting other viruses or diseases with greater probability, including but not limited to COVID-19, Norovirus, Pneumonia, and others. To prevent this, support your immune system by preventing the flu with a flu shot.
We know that getting shots is not fun, but infection prevention is of utmost importance this year and every year. At Park View Estates, we are committed to keeping our community safe through rigorous cleaning techniques, proper hygiene, and making sure all staff members have received their flu shots.
To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Park View Estates, contact our friendly team today.