Flu cases are expected to increase this year, especially among vulnerable populations. For anyone who hasn’t yet been immunized, now is the time to get a flu shot. Flu season tends to peaks by February in the United States, but it can continue through May. And for those who wonder: yes, you can get a flu shot at the same time as the Covid-19 vaccine (or the Covid-19 booster).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone older than 6 months (with only a few rare exceptions) get vaccinated against the seasonal flu every year. This vaccine lessens the chances of getting the flu and also helps symptoms be less severe if a person does get infected.
Especially for Those with Cancer and Chronic Diseases
The flu and flu-related complications can create significant health problems (and even death) for anyone, but the risks are greatest in those with preexisting health conditions or who are in a high-risk group. Individuals in any high-risk group are recommended to always get a flu shot at the start of the flu season and be more careful about additional preventive measures.
Hospitalizations and deaths from flu complications mainly occur in these high-risk groups:
- People older than age 65
- Pregnant women
- Children younger than 59 months
- Those with chronic medical conditions (e.g., chronic cardiac, pulmonary, renal, metabolic, neurodevelopmental, liver, or hematologic diseases)
- Those with immunosuppressive conditions (e.g., HIV/AIDS, receiving chemotherapy or steroids, or malignancy).
Another group at higher than usual risk for coming down with the flu are those working in healthcare, due to increased exposure to patients with the flu.
National Influenza Vaccination Week is now (Dec 5-11th). Make sure you take the time to seek out the vaccine, which is readily found at any doctor’s office, as well as pharmacies and many grocery stores.