Wash your hands. Avoid touching your face. Sanitize often. Practice physical distancing. We have many tools at our disposal to help keep us safe and healthy during COVID-19.
Well, here’s another: your flu shot! This season, immunizations are more important than ever to protect yourself and those around you from getting the flu.
“Making sure you get your flu shot annually is the best way to ensure extra protection against illnesses and infections – it acts as your body’s ‘inside mask,’ says Marcia Ziegler, pharmacist at Rimbey Pharmasave. “As COVID and influenza symptoms can overlap, getting your flu shot can help your body in preventing a ‘twindemic.’ It gives your body some of the antibodies needed to help recognize and fight the virus sooner, preventing overwhelming of hospitals. This year, you can help keep the community stay healthy by protecting yourself and those around you from the flu. Those eligible to be immunized can do so free of charge.”
Who Can Get a Flu Shot?
The only restriction that exists for Albertans receiving flu shots is they must be at least five years of age. Because it can take almost two weeks for the protective antibodies to develop following your shot, Ziegler recommends getting your flu shot as soon as possible to make sure you’re protected before infections and illnesses arrive in the community.
Why get a flu shot when we’re already taking these other precautions? THAT can be summarized in four words: It can save lives.
Flu shots help protect you from getting sick, and, by limiting your chances of spreading the flu, helps prevent those around you from getting sick too.
And with COVID staying with us for the foreseeable future, staying healthy is essential.
Has COVID Changed Things?
Like many things right now, the process of getting your flu shot might look a little different this year.
You must wear a mask, must book an appointment either in person or over the phone, and once you arrive you’ll receive an influenza vaccine consent form to review with the pharmacist at the time of your vaccination (the most notable part being the COVID screening portion).
It’s important NOT to enter the pharmacy if you’re experiencing COVID symptoms, aren’t feeling well or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus.
As it’s difficult to distinguish between COVID symptoms and flu symptoms because of their similarities, if you’re having trouble distinguishing between the two, consult Pharmasave’s symptom table for more information!