Infectious Disease Specialist sheds light on how important it is to get FLU shot during the COVID 19 scenario

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Importance of FLU shot in COVID 19 pandemic
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Flu shots is the best way of prevention against Influenza virus. Influenza, a respiratory illness, accounts for approximately 700,000 hospitalisations annually (as per CDC). It is a preventable illness but has bad outcomes in vulnerable populations such as the children, elderly, pregnant females and people with chronic diseases like Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus and Brochial Asthma. So, Dr Charu Dutt, Infectious Disease Specialist and Home care expert at Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, Faridabad talks about why it’s highly important to get FLU shot during this pandemic.

1-Flu vaccination is quite effective. It is around 50-70 percent effective in preventing the flu, which is considerably high. If you still get sick, or if you get a co-infection with another virus, the flu vaccine will still reduce the severity of the disease. So, it is well worth getting

2-Although Flu vaccination does not prevent COVID-19, but there are studies done in Missouri and Arkansas which showed that due to 'viral interference', flu vaccinations prevent children in contracting severe COVID disease.

3-By having a flu vaccine and reducing prevalence of the flu in your community, you also protect others including vulnerable groups from potentially getting the disease.

4-Flu vaccination helps in reducing the number of people that need medical attention and hospitalisation for those contracting the flu.

5-This year of all years, there is a tremendous societal benefit in getting your flu vaccine as our health systems are still battling the coronavirus.

6-Whilst it is true that lower rates of seasonal flu is reported in certain parts of the country, flu is nevertheless circulating, causing severe disease and fatalities

7-Since Influenza presents with some common symptoms of COVID such as Fever, Runny nose, Muscle pain and Nasal congestion, a single flu shot can prevent these symptoms and decrease the load of medical infrastructure. The flu vaccine will help our healthcare team to not get overwhelmed.

8-When it comes to children, flu shots are more important because it prevents them from contracting influenza H1N1 and pneumonia that can lead to severe respiratory infection. Children with flu can act as super spreaders and a single flu shot can develop immunity.

9-As per the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, children should get their first flu shot at the age of 6 months. Then, it should be a yearly immunisation till the age of 5 years. The rate of flu vaccination in India is not as prevalent as in the western countries, but now, doctors recommend flu vaccination to everyone.

10-The best time to get flu shot is in pre-monsoon and monsoon months. The phase June to October witnesses the maximum weather fluctuations and hence lead to severe infections.

11-One must follow hand hygiene and COVID appropriate behaviour after getting flu vaccination as it is the most effective way of preventing the coronavirus infection.

Also Read: Here’s what you should know about dental abnormalities caused by your tongue

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