During the 2020-21 flu season, most people wore masks or stayed home entirely. As a result, flu infections were few and far between. It’s unclear how severe the 2021-22 flu season will be now that most businesses have reopened and mask mandates are less common. Experts warn that if flu and COVID-19 circulate in tandem, it could become a “twin-demic,” putting extra strain on an already strained healthcare system. If you’re thinking about getting your flu shot, these five frequently asked questions can help guide your decision.
Does the flu shot protect against COVID-19?
Influenza, commonly called flu, is not the same as COVID-19. Therefore, the flu shot does not offer protection against COVID-19. You need a flu shot to guard against influenza and a COVID-19 vaccine to protect against COVID-19.
Is it possible to contract flu and COVID-19 at the same time?
Yes. It is possible to have flu and other respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, simultaneously. Health experts are still learning how common this is. The symptoms are similar, making it hard to tell which illness you have based on symptom observation alone. Diagnostic testing is required to know for sure.
Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot during the same visit?
Yes. It’s safe to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu at the same time, whether you’re on your first COVID-19 shot, second dose, or booster. Evidence shows that the body develops antibodies and experiences possible side effects similarly, whether the vaccines are administered together or independently. This is because neither vaccine uses live viruses, so they don’t interact with one another. Still, you may want to get each shot in a different arm to reduce soreness.
Should I get a flu shot if I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19?
No. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you should remain in isolation for 10 days, even if you have no symptoms. You should also isolate if you have symptoms that could be COVID-19—including fever, cough, and shortness of breath—for 10 days or until you test negative. Wait until your isolation period is over before getting a flu shot to decrease the risk of spreading the illness to others.
How else can I prepare for flu season besides getting a flu shot?
The CDC recommends an annual flu shot for nearly everyone six months and older. In addition to receiving this vaccination, you can help reduce spreading the flu with these tips:
- Regularly clean high-touch surfaces in your home with products designed to kill influenza viruses.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds.
- Stay home if you develop respiratory symptoms and consider getting tested for COVID-19.
Visit Total Point Urgent Care for your flu shot today! We are a walk-in clinic providing care to all, no appointments or referrals necessary. We also offer rapid COVID-19 testing. For more information, please contact us or visit one of our nine locations in Texas and Arizona today.