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Influenza shot more important than ever this year, experts say

NEW YORK – Every year around this time, medical experts begin telling the American public that they need to get their flu shot. They say the same thing this time, but the message is that it’s even more important this year.

“Getting a flu vaccine during 2020-21 is more important than ever because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website.

“Influenza vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for influenza. Many of them are also at high risk for COVID-19 or serious outcomes,” the CDC said.

The added benefit of getting a flu vaccine this season is “reducing the overall burden on the healthcare system and saving medical resources for the care of COVID-1

9 patients.”

The New York State Department of Health added another reason to get vaccinated against the flu. Doctors do not know what the risk is of having both the flu and the new coronavirus at the same time. Plus, many of the symptoms of the flu are the same as for the new coronavirus.

State medical experts said that during the pandemic, it is particularly important to get a flu vaccine for key workers, including health workers and other workers in key companies.

People at risk for serious disease from the new coronavirus are adults 65 and older, residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities and anyone with underlying medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Dr. Daren Wu, Chief Medical Officer at Open Door Family Medical Center in the lower Hudson Valley, said while everyone’s mind is on the new coronavirus, getting the flu will lower your immune system and make you more susceptible to all sorts of secondary infections, including bacterial infections. and other viruses, such as COVID-19.

“The flu shot is not perfect,” he said, “but we continue to frame the message that it is overwhelmingly safe and can give you significant protection.”

The state health department said flu symptoms can include:

  • Fever or fever / chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting or diarrhea (more common in children)

The CDC said the symptoms of the new coronavirus include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Search here for where you can get a flu shot.

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