Why Do I Need a Flu Shot?

The unofficial start of fall is behind us now and the official start is just days away. The new season means cooler temperatures are on the way—and it also means that flu season is getting closer.

While you should get a flu shot each year to protect you against influenza, getting the vaccine is especially important this year. Let our team at AFC Urgent Care Cheltenham explain why.

Why Do I Need a New Flu Shot Each Year?

When we think of vaccines, we often think of the kind that require only one shot or maybe a booster later on. But the flu vaccine works differently.

Each year, different strains of the influenza virus spread, causing illness. Because of that, the flu vaccine is reformulated annually to protect against the strains of the flu that are predicted to be present that year. That’s why an annual flu shot is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for nearly everyone age 6 months and older.

Groups That Most Need the Flu Vaccine

  • Older adults
  • Those with compromised immune systems
  • Pregnant women

What Makes This Year Different?

Each year, the flu causes millions of medical visits and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations. But this year, there’s a unique circumstance that makes getting the flu shot even more important.

The flu season, which begins around October and continues through March or April, will coincide this year with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Because the two conditions share many symptoms, it could lead to confusion between the illnesses. But bigger picture, having dual outbreaks could lead to many more medical visits and hospitalizations, stressing out the medical system.

Other Ways to Avoid Illness

  • Wear a face covering when in public to protect against COVID-19 and the flu.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands.
  • Limit contact with anyone who may be sick.
  • Avoid crowds and large gatherings.

The CDC recommends receiving your flu shot by the end of October for maximum protection. Stop by AFC Urgent Care Cheltenham to get yours!