Getting a flu shot is important every fall, but even more so this year with COVID-19. Coronavirus and the flu are caused by different viruses, making it possible to contract both at the same time. By getting your flu shot this year, you can reduce your chances of flu complications and potentially conserve healthcare resources for COVID-19 patients.
What is a flu shot
An annual flu shot is your best defense against the flu. Because every flu season is different, each year the vaccine protects against the three or four strains most likely to cause illness. The flu viruses in the shot are not active, meaning you can’t get the flu from a flu shot. After receiving the vaccine, it will take your body about two weeks to develop protective antibodies.
While the flu shot won’t protect you from COVID-19, it can help keep you from getting sick and reduce severe symptoms that could lead to hospitalization or death if you do contract the flu.
Understanding your risk as a kidney patient
Chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and other underlying medical conditions put you at greater risk for contracting the flu and developing dangerous complications. In recent years, the National Kidney Foundation reports that 30% of adult flu hospitalizations occurred in those with diabetes – a major risk factor for chronic kidney disease. That’s why it’s especially important to get vaccinated. The CDC recommends CKD patients at any stage, kidney transplant recipients, and dialysis patients get a flu shot.
When to get the flu shot
The best time to get vaccinated is before the onset of flu season. Early fall (September and October) is an ideal time to schedule your shot. Many insurance companies cover most or all of the cost, but check with your provider first. There are many locations in the Greater Cincinnati area to get vaccinated, including your doctor’s office, your local Kroger, Meijer, Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS stores.
From all of us at the Nephrology Associates of Greater Cincinnati, we urge you to take preventative action against the flu this season. Have a happy, healthy fall!