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Flu shots and COVID-19

Flu vaccine remains important during coronavirus pandemic

Flu season is quickly approach-ing. While COVID-19 cases were increasing as of this writing, getting the influenza vaccine is as important as ever. Flu season started at the beginning of September and lasts until early spring. As Kentuckians, we have seen that social distancing, wearing a mask and good hand hygiene can slow the spread of viruses, but it does not eliminate them.

The flu vaccine is an effective, safe and easy way to keep your family healthy. There are several reasons why you should get your flu vaccine:

  • Potentially avoid contracting both influenza and COVID-19 at the same time.
  • Decrease the probability of over-whelming our health care systems.
  • Protect those most vulnerable among us, including the elderly and immunocompromised.
  • Protect individuals with comor-bidities such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and obesity.
  • Protect our children. The flu vac-cine is recommended starting at 6 months of age.
  • Decrease likelihood of work or school absences with flu-like illness.
  • Fortify our existing immune systems.
  • Decrease influenza severity.

Influenza and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, including fever, body aches, sore throat, shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, headache, vomiting and diarrhea. Patients affected by COVID-19 often report losing their sense of taste and smell, while this is less common with influenza.

It takes two weeks to develop immunity after receiving the influ-enza vaccine, so get it early to stay ahead of this respiratory virus. Socially distancing, wearing a mask and hand hygiene are weapons against our invisible viral enemies, but the flu vaccine provides addi-tional armor we can put on to pro-tect ourselves and those around us.

If you are interested in more information on influenza and the flu vaccine, as well as COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www. cdc.gov/flu or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. For all the up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Kentucky, visit www.kycovid19.ky.gov.

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