Doctors are anticipating an increase in flu cases this year because more people are out and about. This is on top of rising COVID-19 cases due to the highly transmissible Delta variant. Permanente Medicine adult and family medicine physician Jason Singh, MD, spoke with NBC4 about how you can keep your family safe this flu season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are expecting cold and flu cases to increase this year,” Dr. Singh said. “Our immune systems aren’t as robust [as previous years] because of isolation.”
Dr. Singh offered four tips to keep people safe this flu season.
1) Get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine. You can get both vaccines at the same time. Most pharmacies offer flu shots at this time. Anyone 12 and older can get the COVID-19 vaccine, and anyone 6 months and older can get the flu shot.
2) Get the flu shot before flu season. The flu usually is found in communities in October, then peaks in January.
3) You may experience mild side effects from the flu shot such as soreness at the injection site, headache, fever or muscle aches. These effects only last a few days, and pale in comparison to getting the flu.
4) You can still get sick with the flu if you got the flu shot, just as you can still get sick from COVID-19 if you have the vaccine. Both of the shots significantly reduce the risk of severe illness and death.
“The best way to keep yourself safe is to get the flu shot and get the COVID-19 vaccine if you haven’t already done so,” Dr. Singh said. “As always, practice good handwashing, masking and social distancing, too.”