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12/3/20blog post

it's not too late to get your flu shot

flu faq

We are officially in flu season. However, this year’s flu season is different than any other before due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to brush up on your flu knowledge, so let’s address some of the frequently asked questions we are getting about the flu with answers by Lisa Ziemnik, MD, division chief of Dayton Children’s Kids Express and urgent care.

I’ve heard it’s even more important to get your flu vaccine this year, is this true? Why?

“In the midst of the current pandemic with COVID-19, it is even more important to receive your flu vaccine this year,” says Dr. Ziemnik. “Many of the symptoms of COVID-19 in children are similar to the flu, especially the early signs, like fever. Once fever hits, we don't know if it is flu, COVID or another virus. Having the flu vaccine helps to decrease the likelihood that it is flu and helps us, as physicians, to best take care of each individual and overall keep more children healthy.”

Who should get the flu vaccine?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older every year, with rare exceptions.

Is it too late to get the flu vaccine? Why or why not?

We encourage individuals to get their flu shots when they become available in late September and October, so they maximize the benefits of the vaccine. But it is almost never too late to get a flu shot and have benefit from it. The key is to try to get the vaccine at least two to three weeks before the flu season begins in order to have optimal protection against it. Many years, flu season starts to hit our region towards the middle to end of December. If you have not already gotten the flu vaccine this flu season, talk to your doctor because it is not too late to get one.

How do I prevent the flu?

While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent the flu, these tips can help limit the spreading of germs:

-Make sure your family gets the flu vaccine each year.
-Keep kids home if they have the flu and stay home if you're sick.
-Wash your hands well and often with soap.
-Don't share cups and utensils.
-Avoid crowds during flu season.
-Sneeze or cough into a tissue or into your elbow, not your hand.
-Wear a mask! The same steps that we use to prevent COVID 19 are also used to prevent the flu.

Can you get the flu from the flu vaccine?

You cannot get flu from a flu vaccine. Your body can think it has the flu and respond by making you feel off for a day or so, but you cannot catch the flu from the vaccine. The response to the vaccine means that your body has recognized it and is responding to it.

If you have any other questions about the flu or the flu vaccine, please talk to your primary care provider. They would be happy to speak with you and provide you with information to stay healthy during flu season and all year long!

Lisa Ziemnik, MD, FAAP

program director urgent care
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