2020 was a relatively quiet flu season as almost everyone was staying at home, vigilantly washing their hands, and wearing masks. These measures are highly effective at preventing the spread of illness.
However, the low flu numbers don’t mean that the flu is gone, and you should still take steps to protect yourself and your family from this potentially dangerous virus.
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious upper respiratory virus that causes symptoms including:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
Symptoms range in severity from mild to severe. Between 3-11% of the United States population has the flu every year. In the 2018-2019 flu season, 490,600 people were hospitalized because of the flu, and over 34,000 died.
How is the flu different from COVID-19?
While the flu and COVID-19 are both upper respiratory viral infections, they’re caused by different viruses. COVID-19 symptoms tend to take longer to emerge than influenza symptoms. People with COVID-19 tend to be contagious for much longer than those with the flu.
By all accounts, COVID-19 can cause more severe illness in some people than the flu. However, the symptoms are similar, and you need a molecular or antigen test to confirm the virus that is causing your illness.
Older adults and children are the most susceptible to the flu. People who work with the general public or have close contact with others, such as teachers, medical providers, and grocery store employees, also have a high risk of contracting the flu.
The young and elderly are also more likely to develop severe symptoms and complications.
Our urology specialists here at Urology of Greater Atlanta care about your overall health. Call our office or schedule a consultation online if you have questions or concerns about your urinary health, the flu shot, COVID-19, or any other wellness issue.
Who needs a flu shot?
Everyone should get a flu shot, especially children, people over the age of 65, and anyone with other risk factors for severe symptoms and complications.
How does the flu shot work?
The flu shot stimulates your body to produce antibodies that can fight off the virus before it causes an infection and makes you sick.
Why do I need a flu shot every year?
The flu virus mutates rapidly and changes enough from year to year that prior year’s vaccine. Medical researchers study the flu virus constantly and accurately predict the strain of the virus that will become most prevalent each year.
Do I need the flu shot if I had the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. Different viruses cause the flu and COVID-19, and a vaccine for one will not protect you from the other. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that it is safe to have the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine.