Health officials encourage getting flu shots

Many of the health care experts highly recommend getting your flu shot this year.

SCIOTO — As the death toll continues to rise with COVID-19, doctors stress that Americans more than ever get a flu shot this year.

The consensus seems to be the same, no matter where you get your flu shot, it’s important to get one this year. As some hospitals are fighting COVID-19 daily, doctors state the flu vaccine could lower the risk of death this year from the flu compared to years past.

“We need to do as much prevention as we can,” Dr. Aaron Adams, D.O., family physician at King’s Daughters Family Care Center said. “With COVID-19, which we don’t have a vaccination for, we wouldn’t want to be infected with Flu A, B and COVID-19 if we could help it.”

Adams shared his practice normally starts to see flu cases in October when flu season starts. Adams said he encourages his patients, especially those at a higher risk, to start getting their flu shots in mid-September.

“It takes a couple of weeks to trigger that full immunity that will help you against the flu,” Adams said. “Around here, we normally start seeing it in October, but it can vary and last through late spring.”

Adams shared that flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter, while seasonal influenza viruses are detected year-round in the United States. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often increases in October. Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that patients stay current on immunizations in order to help protect themselves and others from vaccine-preventable illnesses. Maintaining routine vaccinations can help prevent infections, reduce the stress on the health care system, and protect at-risk, vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is now apparent that COVID-19 will still be circulating during flu season, which makes getting a flu vaccine more crucial than ever. As schools, communities and the economy continue to reopen, it is vital to get the flu vaccine for personal, family and community protection.

“We see a lot of Flu B with younger children and they seem to do ok with recovering; however, it’s important to get the vaccine to help prevent the flu and from children developing other infections.”

Adams shared receiving the flu vaccine will help reduce the burden of respiratory illness on the already very overstretched health care system. By increasing flu vaccination rates, Americans can reduce the overall impact of respiratory illnesses on the population and lower the health care system’s resulting burden during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My philosophy is what do you have to lose getting the vaccine,” Adams said. “It has been said that this year’s vaccine is 50% effective, which is a lot better than last year’s.”

Adams stated he has been watching the spread of the flu this season so far and while still early is noticing with several COVID-19 precautions, it is also helping stop the spread of the flu.

“With people using alcohol gels, wearing masks, social distancing and staying away from large gathering, we could see less of the flu this year than any year past,” Adams said.

Flu shots are available at multiple locations, including King’s Daughter Medical Center, SOMC and the health department.

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights