Influenza is already circulating in parts of the country making now the best time to get your flu shot.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, flu season has been relatively mild, but the reprieve may be over. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns of a potentially severe flu season ahead. Flu experts look to the Southern Hemisphere to predict what will happen in the Northern Hemisphere. Australia just had one of its worst flu seasons in years. And, here in the United States, influenza is already spreading across parts of the country.
In a typical year, the CDC estimates between 9 million and 45 million Americans get the flu, resulting in between 140,000-810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000-61,000 deaths annually since 2010. Adults 65 years and older, adults with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, and young children are at greater risk of severe flu complications.
A severe flu season coupled with a potential spike in COVID-19 this winter means we could be in for the so-called ‘twindemic’ that public health experts have feared since the start of the pandemic. If both viruses hit hard at the same time it could put a strain on healthcare systems. Vaccinations help to reduce this threat.
Throughout October all CareWell and ClearChoiceMD Urgent Care clinics are offering flu shots at no cost to you, regardless of insurance coverage. Here are five reasons to come in and get your flu shot today
- Reduced Population Immunity – We’ve had less exposure to influenza over the past two years as a result of pandemic precautions like masking and social distancing. Many of those precautions have been abandoned and people are once again gathering at school, work, and events. Some young children may never have had flu exposure or been vaccinated. Often flu activity increases in children and then spreads to older age groups.
- Flu Activity Increasing – Flu activity overall is still relatively low, but the CDC reports that it is increasing across the country. The southeast and south-central U.S. have the highest rates of flu. This could signal an early start to the flu season.
- Protect Your Community – Even healthy people should get vaccinated. A flu shot not only protects you, it protects everyone, including your family and your community. It’s the best way to protect the ones you love against the flu, especially if they are at high risk of complications from influenza.
- Building Immunity Takes Time – Do not wait until flu activity starts to increase in your community to get your flu shot. It takes two weeks to develop antibodies to protect you from the virus. Pregnant women should get a flu shot to protect their child after birth because babies are not eligible for a flu shot until they are six months old. The CDC recommends getting your vaccine by the end of October.
- It’s Free – CareWell and ClearChoiceMD clinics are offering free flu shots during the month of October. Simply visit any of our New England locations, no appointment needed.