Flu season is officially here, and if you want to reduce your risk, that means getting your yearly flu shot to stay safe. Flu season can begin as early as October and last as long as May, with infection rates often spiking around February.
Much has changed in our day-to-day lives this year, but the need to protect against flu viruses has not. Learn more about the dangers presented by influenza viruses this season, and find out how the flu shot services provided by The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus can help you stay safe.
What Is Influenza and What Are Common Flu Symptoms?
The CDC describes the flu as a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, the throat, and sometimes the lungs. These diseases are believed to be spread most commonly through droplets. And these droplets are spread to others through sneezes, coughs, and even talking. But flu diseases can also be transmitted when a person touches a surface containing the flu virus and then touches parts of their own face, such as the nose or mouth.
Flu symptoms can range from mild to severe, and in some cases infection can become fatal. The following are common flu symptoms:
- Body Ache
- Head Congestion
- Loss of Energy
- Runny Nose
Not everyone who contracts the flu will experience all of these symptoms, but they are commonly associated with influenza infection. And some infected individuals can spread the flu without showing any symptoms themselves.
This is why the CDC recommends getting a yearly flu shot like the ones The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus provides for individuals 6 months of age or older: immunization doesn’t just protect you from the flu, it also protects the people around you. Our clinic offers flu shots to patients 4 years of age or older.
Influenza and COVID-19
Influenza and COVID-19 are both highly infectious respiratory illnesses, and they share some common symptoms, but they are not the same disease. For this reason, flu shots will not protect against COVID-19.
However, flu shots do provide benefits that are especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, it is possible to be infected with the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. So a flu shot can guard against being infected with both diseases at once.
Also, as COVID-19 cases spike throughout the flu season, hospitals may be stretched to the limit in terms of the space and resources they can provide, with some reaching their maximum capacity. If fewer patients are hospitalized due to the flu, there will be less strain placed on hospitals and healthcare workers when COVID-19 cases rise.
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms but aren’t sure if you may be suffering from influenza or COVID-19, contact a medical professional at The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus and ask about COVID-19 testing. We also offer virtual visits to help you speak with a healthcare provider from the comfort of your home.
Want to Stay Safe This Flu Season? Let Us Help
At The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus, we are dedicated to the health of our clients and our community. And the flu shots we provide help protect both. If you would like to schedule your yearly flu shot, please check-in online or walk into one of our clinics. Let’s work together to create a healthier tomorrow.