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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

Getting a flu shot is always a smart health move. But this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more important. Why? The influenza or flu virus leads to symptoms that can look a lot like coronavirus symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches and fatigue. So, if you can head off the flu by getting a vaccine, that’s one less contagious illness to face down this fall. And if you develop suspicious symptoms, you’ll have a better idea of what’s causing them.

Having the flu isn’t much fun, but most people recover in a few days. Like COVID-19, though, the flu can be fatal for some — another good reason to get your flu shot. Even if you aren’t worried about yourself, getting a flu shot can keep you from spreading it to others who are at high risk (like those under age 2 or over age 65).

Flu season begins in the fall and ends in the spring, peaking between December and February. It’s best to get vaccinated before flu season starts, but don’t panic if you forget. Better late than never, when it comes to flu shots. 

The CDC recommends annual flu shots for everyone 6 months of age and older. Vaccination is particularly important for people at higher risk of serious complications — including anyone age 65 or older and those with medical conditions like asthma, cancer, COPD, diabetes, kidney or liver disease. 

Flu myths, busted

Myth: I will get the flu from the vaccine.

Fact: The flu shot doesn’t contain the active virus, so it can’t cause you to get the flu. You might feel a bit under the weather, though, as it revs up your immune system and your body creates antibodies. 

Myth: There’s no point in getting the vaccine because I still may get the flu. 

Fact: Several strains of flu go around, and the flu shot covers the ones you’re most likely to get. But it’s possible to catch a strain that isn’t covered by the vaccine. Still, getting the vaccine reduces your chances of getting the flu by a lot. And the vaccine can also reduce how severe the flu is if you do get it. 

What to do to avoid the flu

Cut your chances of getting the flu (and a lot of other bugs, too) by:

  • Getting a flu shot
  • Washing your hands often with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds
  • Using hand sanitizer when hand washing isn’t an option
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoiding crowds

Eat right and get enough sleep, too. Those healthy habits also help ward off illness.

Don't skip your flu shot this year
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