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Although we’ve all had COVID-19 top of mind these last six months, we need to remember that it’s still important to get the flu shot this year. In fact, it’s especially critical because we’re living in a pandemic.

Health professionals are continually learning about the coronavirus, but what we know for sure is that having either COVID-19 or the flu can have a serious effect on your health, especially your respiratory wellness. The coinciding existence of influenza and COVID-19 in the body can significantly boost the severity of each illness.

Getting the flu vaccine is not only best for your personal well-being, but it’s also best for the well-being of your surrounding community. The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious illnesses and have many of the same symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose. Either one can have a great impact on others, especially babies and the elderly, plus those with underlying medical conditions, such as asthma. We need to be increasingly cognizant of this as our communities continue to open and we are exposed to more people and places. We want to best protect ourselves, our families and those around us.

Getting a flu vaccine is an inexpensive, easy and safe way to staying healthy. A new surge of COVID cases is expected to occur this fall. A flu outbreak during the pandemic would overwhelm the healthcare system. Getting the flu shot to prevent ourselves from getting sick would ultimately help preserve medical resources and alleviate urgent care clinics and doctor offices that are typically crowded with flu patients. It would be beneficial not to have COVID-19 and flu patients share these spaces, not only for cross-infection, but to prevent other patients from getting sick, too.

Early fall is an ideal time to get the flu shot. Getting the vaccine now will last the entire flu season. The Surgery Center of Fort Collins does not administer flu shots, but local pharmacies and health offices are providing them. There’s no guarantee that the flu vaccine will completely prevent you from getting influenza, but it will reduce the odds of it happening. If you do still get the flu after the vaccine, it is most likely that the symptoms will be less severe and not last as long compared to not getting the vaccine at all.

So, make sure to work it into your schedule to get a flu shot. The flu vaccine is just one thing you can do to stay healthy. In addition to the flu vaccine, remember to continue washing your hands, social distance and wear a face covering.