ST. LOUIS – Health concerns have been at the forefront of 2020. Those concerns will only grow as the seasons turn cold.
Dr. Ken Haller, an SLU Care Pediatrician at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, said it is important to get your flu shot every year.
The vaccine is a best-guess of what strain will affect people and Haller said even if it is not an exact match, it is still better than nothing.
“It still provides pretty good protection and it’s still better to get (the shot) and not get (the flu). If you do get the flu, even if it’s not a great match, you’re still likely to have a much less severe case of it, much less likely to end up in the hospital, much less likely to end up dying of it,” he said. “Getting the flu shot every year means that over the course of a number of years, you get immunity to different strains each year and that immunity to last for a couple of years.”
Haller said with the pandemic, it is even more important to get the vaccine because if you get the flu and then the coronavirus, it is a double-whammy to your immune system.
“If your immune system is already fighting off the flu and then the coronavirus comes in, your immune system is trying to fight a war on two fronts,” he said. “It’s best to give your immune system ammunition to fight off the invader on one front while you’re handling the other.”
All of the best health practices in place like social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing should help reduce the spread of flu this year, but it doesn’t mean we can count on it being a mild flu season.
Haller said anyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot; and you should get the vaccine as soon as possible.